WHAT IS CARNAVAL IN SPAIN?

 In Holiday, Malaga

The word Carnaval comes from the word ‘carne’ which means meat. The carnaval Spanish speaking countries is celebrated the week before Lent- the forty days before Easter when Christians traditionally give up certain ‘pleasures of the flesh’. The word Carnaval comes from the word ‘carne’ which means meat. Therefore, Carnaval is associated with a period of permissiveness and partying. Carnaval traditions across Spain differ depending on the region. In the south, particularly famous is the Carnaval of Cadiz with Málaga, in recent years, jumping on the Carnaval band-wagon and offering a similar version of that in Cadiz.

The most typical tradition in the carnaval´s of Malaga and Cadiz are the ‘chirigotas’- groups of singers that go around the city singing original songs, usually they all wear the same costume and the songs are typically commentaries on current politics, politicians, social issues, Spanish family life and work etc. For the carnaval Spanish speaking countries, one of the great Spanish qualities is that they are able to make fun of themselves, and Carnaval is a great example of this very Spanish trait. Even if you don’t understand Spanish, we guarantee that you will be highly entertained by these singing groups. (In the past, the chirigotas were always groups of men, but in recent years there are more and more female groups of singers).

In the city of Málaga, many of its neighbourhoods have their own Carnaval celebrations in the weeks before the official Carnaval of the city centre, so depending on where you are staying you might be pleasantly surprised with a party in the streets!

Here is the official schedule for one of the most popular carnaval Spanish speaking countries, the carnaval in Malaga’s City Centre:

Saturday 23rd February– Gran Gala in the Cervantes Theatre y and the official opening ceremony (‘pregón’) in the Plaza de la Constitución- the main square of Malaga.

  • 17h00 Gala del Mayor in Teatro Cervantes
  • 20h00 Opening ceremony in the Plaza de la Constitución
  • 21h00 Presentation of the anthem
  • 21h15 Crowning of the God and Goddess of Carnaval

Sunday 24th February

  • 12h00 in the Plaza de la Constitución: Official start of the Children’s Carnaval, with the election of princes and gods as well as a best fancy-dress competition
  • 17h00- The Grand Carnaval Parade through the streets of the historical centre and various shows in the Plaza de la Constitución. The parade starts in Pasillo de Santo Domingo on the west side of the River Guadalmedina, works its way through the city centre and ends in the Plaza de la Merced.

During the week, there are no official events, but the carnival atmosphere continues as the satirical singing chirigota groups compete with each other on every corner of the city streets, providing free entertainment for all to enjoy.

Friday 1st March

  • 18h00- Kids’ costume competition and parade through the streets of the historical centre
  • 21h00 Drag Queen Contest and concert in the Plaza de la Constitución

Saturday 2nd March

  • 12h00- Presentation of prizes for the children’s competitions
  • 18h00- Parade of the Carnaval Gods- Plaza de la Constitución
  • 19h30- The Battle of the Flowers- a fun event in the main Street of Malaga- Calle Larios, where everyone throws colourful paper petals and streamers at each other
  • 20h30- The grand finale of the chirigota singing groups in the Plaza de la Constitución

Sunday 3rd March 3rd

  • 12h00- Parade of the Gods and Goddesses
  • 12h30- Shows by the various chirigota groups
  • 13h00- The Grand Boqueroná- get your free portion of ‘bogquerones at the Plaza de la Constitucion. *The Boquerón is a symbol of Málaga. Boqueron means anchovy. Anchovies, one of the most popular dishes in Malaga, are served fried or marinated crude in olive oil, garlic and lemon. In fact, the Malagueños eat so many anchovies that their nickname is, yes- you’ve guessed it- Boquerones. So if you are an adopted Malagueño, you can call yourself a Boqueron, too!
  • 17h00- The burning of the Boquerón on the Beach- the official end of Carnaval, where all our sins can be burned away and we can be good and chaste for the next 40 days! A parade full of colourful floats, carnaval gods and goddesses- and even official mourners, accompany the giant anchovy from the Plaza de la Constitución, through the port and to the beach of the Malagueta for the sad fiery ending to another fab fun week of Carnaval- Malagueño style!

So as you can see, Malaga would be a fun destination to visit in February. But what about the Malaga weather in February 2019?

Malaga in February weather is positively Spring-like with temperatures sometimes reaching up to 20 degrees celcius and average temperatures staying around 16 degrees. We enjoy approximately 10 hours of sunshine per day- sun rise is around 8 a.m. and sunset around 7 p.m.(It is probably a good idea to bring a light raincoat and warmer clothes for the evenings. The average rainfall for the month of February is 138mm). In short, it probably won’t rain on our Carnaval parades!

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