Traditionally, Carnival has been a time of major celebration and deeply-rooted traditions. A celebration which all members of the community took part in some form or another; everyone came together to take part in or watch the events that unfolded in the streets and squares.

It was a time of putting on appearances, grotesque disguises, friendly faces, mythical monsters, enigmatic puppets, songs sung over and over again, fun-filled balls, ritual dances, seemingly chaotic parades, decorated floats, plays and performances, excess…in short, Carnival time, and a whole new outlook on life.

Spain, a faithful follower of this festivity in honour of Bacchus, the god of wine, is home to countless ways of ensuring that the ‘faithful’ adhere to the tradition of fun and laughter all day long. Carnival time is celebrated throughout Spain, albeit in vastly differing ways. Here we give an insight into what are probably the three most popular and lively Carnival celebrations in Spain:

Cadiz, lyrics rich in wit and humour:

Carnival time in Cadiz is worth listening out for. There’s no limit to the sharp wit and humour that brings the verses of their songs to life, which are then repeated chant-like for the rest of the year. Songs that poke fun at their everyday lives and events in Spain. This Andalusian city hosts the world’s longest Carnival. Kings of the Carnival are undoubtedly the chirigotas –groups made up of 12 singers whose lyrics are nothing short of hilarious–, whilst the other stars of the show include the more serious 40-strong choirs, who seek musical perfection, and the comparsas, groups of ‘just’ 15 singers.

The Canary Islands, where excitement reaches fever pitch:

Sheer devotion to glitter, sequins and feathers is what these Carnival Queens and Drag Queens profess… Rivals Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Santa Cruz de Tenerife compete each year in a fierce battle to produce the most spectacular costumes, floats and parades, steeped in all the paraphernalia that surrounds these celebrations. Visitors and locals alike rub shoulders in a setting where the crowds practically lift you off your feet as you make your way around the streets. The warmth of these islands and the happy-go-lucky nature of their inhabitants do credit to this festivity to mark the carne vale – an all-out farewell to the flesh and other worldly pleasures that must last throughout Lent. The sounds of meringue and salsa are everywhere to be heard, turning the main avenues into a single giant dance floor.

“If you’d like to join in the Carnival celebrations, stay at any of Iberostar Hotels & Resorts’ hotels in Andalusia or the Canary Islands, just a short distance away from your favourite local festival!”