Wondering why is Carnival in Spain celebrated?

If you don’t know why is Carnival in Spain celebrated, you will enjoy the history that led us to the modern celebrations. As in other countries, Carnival is the period just before Lent: a time of the year when all the excesses are tolerated as after that, during the Lent, people have to follow strict rules related to food and behaviour.

Apparently the Carnival was introduced in Spain in the 15th century: it seems that some traders from Genova, in Italy, who had settled in Andalucia, started celebrating Carnival exactly as they were used to do in their hometown. They brought the custom of wearing masks and throwing confetti: it was a way to fight nostalgia and feel at home again!

So this colourful celebration became very popular in Spain: masks, confetti, costumes and even some delicious sweets spread quite quickly.

The strong personality of the Spanish Carnival became very peculiar!

After the first period, the celebrations started to differ from the Italian tradition: in Spain the core of the celebrations were music, live performances, irony and jokes instead of masks and costumes.

Cadiz was definitely one of the main cities where this festivity was celebrated, as well as Santa Cruz de Tenerife, where it was introduced in the 17th century.

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People enjoyed the celebrations a lot: the idea that wearing a mask made everybody the same, without social differences, made people feel free to do whatever they wanted.

However, some authorities weren’t happy about the excesses of the Carnival and tried to stop this tradition many times without succeeding. It was formally banned under Francisco Franco.

Despite the ban people in Tenerife continued celebrating it clandestinely until 1961, when it was reintroduced as Winter Festivities. Finally in 1980 the Carnival got his name back was declared Celebration of National Tourist Interest.

Nowadays it’s a gorgeous occasion to have fun and take part in lovely events in different Spanish cities: read more about popular Carnival celebrations in Spain!

Would you enjoy spending some time in any of those amazing cities?


If you love Carnival as much as we do, have a look at other posts here.

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