Soon the fools are loose again. And of course not only Germany. The carnival is celebrated in Spain and Latin America and is certainly worth a trip.
Carnival traditions in Spain
Although the carnival was originally a pagan celebration, today it is mainly found in Catholic regions. This is because it marks the beginning of Lent: a last great debauchery before renouncing worldly pleasures for a while. In Spain, Shrovetide is therefore traditionally celebrated in a very pronounced way. And of course, the Spanish exported the celebration to the New World, where it merged with customs of African slaves and indigenous people, so that each country celebrates its own unique carnival. And also at the Carnival 2019 is again a lot on the legs. Here is a small (of course by no means complete) selection of the most interesting ones Carnival traditions.
Tenerife: long live the queen
This Canary Island hosts one of the largest and most famous carnivals in the world. It is often compared to that of Rio de Janeiro, which is why there is also a twinning between the capital Santa Cruz and Rio. At carnival time, the largest of the Canary Islands receives as many tourists as in high season and the many hotels in Tenerife are often fully booked. The main event is the gala for the election of the queen, where the candidates wear imaginative and imposing dresses that weigh between 150 and 200 kg! (Of course they have to be supported by rollers.) Equally colorful are the dresses and costumes in the parades in the streets.
Besides costume spectacles, the Carnival of Tenerife but there is also a musical-artistic side: on the one hand the so-called Murgas (related to similar music groups in South America), who denounce social grievances with ironic lyrics, on the other hand the Comparsas, colorfully dressed dance ensembles that perform hot choreographies to drum rhythms. Visitors are particularly enraptured by the latter.
Gran Canaria: here it gets even more colorful
The Carnival of Gran Canaria has similarities with that of Tenerife. Here, too, there are murgas, comparsas and a queen. However, the celebration of this island has gained international fame due to a very special gala: in addition to the queen, the best drag queen has been chosen here since 1998. The gala is broadcast every year on Spanish television and has become one of the most popular carnival events in the Canary Islands. If you have booked a hotel on the beach during carnival time, it is definitely worth taking a trip to the capital to enjoy this colorful celebration.
Cadiz: Humor and music
The proverbial sense of humor of the Gaditans (the inhabitants of Cadiz) is known throughout Spain. And that is also expressed in their carnival. The festival is perhaps a little less known abroad, but at home it is all the more popular. At its heart are the musical groups that can be heard on every street corner of the old town during Carnival week, performing their poetic, profound, ironic and often crudely funny songs to the virtuoso sounds of guitars and ribbons. The special thing about the Carnival of Cadiz is that it has developed into an independent form of music and art that is practiced practically all year round. The best and most popular groups tour all over Spain. The costumes are not as glamorous as those seen in other carnival celebrations, but rather funny and witty. They are meant to make you smile and sometimes have a deeper meaning. If you want to enjoy the carnival of Cadiz during the day, but prefer to sleep well at night, you should book a hotel in the new town, because they sing all night long!
Carnival traditions in Latin America: UNESCO World Heritage Site
Latin America is home to two of the few carnivals declared by UNESCO as so-called "Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity", and surprisingly, they are probably not the most famous ones. It is about the Carnival of Oruro (Bolivia) and the Carnival of Barranquilla (Colombia).
The carnival of Oruro has such a high cultural value because it was born from the fusion of Christianity with the religions of the indigenous peoples of Bolivia, creating a completely new world of characters, unlike any other in the world.
The Carnival of Barranquilla, on the other hand, received the distinction because of its unique wealth of folkloric traditions (dances, music, etc).) that are kept alive and maintained thanks to the carnival. It is accordingly multifaceted and colorful and also an expression of the fusion of cultures, although here the African element plays a greater role.
Dominican Republic: here the carnival never ends
In this tropical paradise, the festival is always celebrated at the same time, regardless of Holy Week, throughout the month of February! This makes it particularly attractive for tourists, as one is less restricted and it is easier to book a hotel in the Dominican Republic for this time of year. Many masks and figures decorate the streets for the Dominican Carnival, but the main character is undoubtedly the Diablo Cojuelo, the "limping devil. This cheeky prankster was too naughty for heaven and was thrown to earth because of it. In the process he broke his leg and limped from then on. He is the one responsible for the exuberance and mischievousness of the carnival and therefore, of course, he deserves special honor.
Mexico: a carnival of its own in every village
In Mexico, Carnival is celebrated especially extensively, with independent traditions in practically every village. Especially famous is the Carnival of Veracruz, which is known as the "happiest month in the world". Also the Carnival of Huejotzingo (Puebla), where historical events are depicted, is especially worth seeing.
When is carnival 2019?
In most countries (with some exceptions, such as the Dominican Republic), Carnival takes place at the beginning of Lent and is thus dependent on Easter. Ash Wednesday, which begins Lent and ends Carnival, falls in 2019 on the 6. March. However, there are great differences in the duration of each carnival. So in Cadiz and the Canary Islands it lasts two weeks! (this year from 27. respectively. 28. February to 10. March), to which must be added a month of competitions of the various musical groups beforehand.
Experience the Carnival 2019!
Of course, the list is endless: the Carnival in Cuba is quite different from the one in Costa Rica, Guatemala celebrates it differently from Ecuador. What they all have in common, however, is the exuberant joie de vivre, the bright colors and, of course, the music! So no matter which one you choose, you certainly won’t be disappointed.