MADRID – Carnival lovers had bad luck last year. In Spain, the authorities had to cancel the celebrations due to the pandemic. Even though the number of infections seems to be improving, various locations have also suspended the celebrations this year.
This is the case, for example, in Santa Coloma de Gramenet. Revellers everywhere are still awaiting a decision from local authorities as to the dates for the events approach. Carnival this year falls between Thursday 24 February and Wednesday 2 March. In cities with a strong carnival tradition, such as Cádiz and Las Palmas, the party often lasts much longer.
Carnival in Spain can be very spectacular
From grand parades, drag queen galas, dress-up contests to cabaret contests, Carnival in Spain can be one big party. A lot of towns and villages celebrate Carnival, albeit less grandly than in the following places: Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, and Cádiz claim to celebrate the best carnival in the world after Rio de Janeiro. Sitges is also famous among lovers of this typical celebration. In this Catalan seaside resort, the festivities are more geared towards the gay scene.
People on the Canary Islands, reserve normally the entire month of February for partying. Carnival associations have been busy with preparations and organisation for weeks. Sometimes the whole year. Typical for the Spanish Carnival are competitions between ‘murgas’ (socially critical cabaret groups) and ‘comparsas’ (dance groups).
In Las Palmas you can celebrate Carnival this year from February 25 to March 20. The main attraction here is the big carnival parade on Saturday 1 March. However, due to the pandemic, the Town Hall has postponed it to the first weekend of July. However, in February and March, various galas, costume contests for children, and the election of the carnival beauty are held. In Las Palmas, the gala of the Drag Queen on Friday 18 March is going to be big. This is a factual and big open-air disco. The ‘Entierro de la Sardina’ marks the end of the Carnival celebrations on Sunday 20 March, followed by a fireworks display. More information at lpacarnaval.com
Santa Cruz de Tenerife
On Tenerife, the political party Ciudadanos wants to attribute the carnival celebration on the island as a World Heritage Site. Authorities have suspended the celebrations until June this year. From 4 to 26 June, events take place such as the great carnival parade with a fireworks spectacle to conclude on 17 June. The big ‘Gala de la Reina’ with the election of the queen of the carnival, will take place on Wednesday 15 June. The famous ‘Entierro de Sardina’ closure falls on June 22 this year. In between, there are competitions of cabaret groups on the street and other festivities.
The Cádiz City Council has also decided to postpone the 2022 Carnival until June. The official competition of carnival groups now starts shortly after Easter. This is in anticipation of an improvement in the epidemiological situation in Andalucia. The authorities want to avoid another cancellation of the festivities. The carnival in the street starts on June 10 and lasts until June 19. More information: carnivaldetenerife.com.
In Catalonia, the most important Carnival celebration is that of Sitges. The celebration will continue as usual in this municipality. It takes place from Thursday 24 February and ends on Wednesday 2 March. The most famous is the big procession that fills the streets of the Catalan coastal town with color, humor, and music. The local authorities promise to maintain the protective measures given the possible spread of the coronavirus.
The Carnival dates are fixed from Holy Week, in Spain Semana Santa (the week before Easter). The lunar calendar determines when Carnival is celebrated each year. Easter Sunday is the Sunday after the first full moon after the onset of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. This year it falls on April 17.
Holy Week is preceded by a 40-day Lent, between Ash Wednesday, this year on March 2, and Maundy Thursday on April 14 (Sundays are not included). And in the days before Carnival is celebrated.