This year carnival celebration will start in Spain next 3rd March. Carnival in this country is celebrated nationwide though the most raucous festivities are in the Canary Islands, Cadiz and Sitges. While each town has its own unique flavour of celebration, they all have a devotion to having a good time. In these main destinations during Carnival it seems that no one sleeps as the drinking and dancing go from dusk until dawn. You can see extravagant costumes and people in masks everywhere, and in any of Spain's Carnivals, you'll have a lot more fun participating in the masquerading than you will just watching.
About their origins, most popularly it is believed the term Carnival derives from the words "farewell to the flesh," a reference to the excesses that led up to the sombre Lent. Some suspect Carnival is derived from the Roman solstice festival, the Saturnalia, where participants indulged in much drinking and dancing. Saturnalia is believed to have had the first parade floats, called the 'carrus navalis'. Probably these pagan roots were the explanation why they were banned for forty years during the General Franco dictatorship.
The most popular and beautiful carnival in Spain (and probably in Europe) is the one that takes place in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, it is really a great spectacle to see all the extraordinary costumes parade with dresses made of beads and satin and feathers, each one more flamboyant than the last one. But although this is the most amazing, in fact, during these carnival days, in every single little town of Spain, people are eager to wear a disguise and have a good time during ten days!
By the way, I promise to bring to this blog more amazing photos of 2011 Carnivals and update this post in a few days.