In Madrid, Carnival festivities is remarkable for their brilliance and dramatic flavor consisting of choruses, fancy-dress processions, jokes, disguises and float parade, flagrant procession, fancy-dress parades, and groups of street musicians, all reaching a climax on Wednesday. During the days of Carnival you would find yourself enveloped with an unsubduable spirit of love and gaeity. If you're thinking about visiting Madrid in February, during Carnival, you will notice the city is busier than normal. Madrid is a city that loves to party and in this time you will have your fair share of bars, clubs and parties to attend.
Carnival has been celebrated in Madrid since Medieval times. However this tradition of merry making was quashed in 1938 and banned for about 40 years by General Franco, who banned the carnival since the Civil War. With the establishment of democracy in 1976 this ban was lifted and ever since, the popular event is celebrated every year.
Madrid carnival may not match up to the standards of the one in Canary islands, but it sure finishes in style. A number of fancy dress competitions are held in different parts of the city and an evening concert is organized in the Plaza Mayor. The main event is a huge parade along the Paseo de la Castellana. Here you can see some of the pics I took of it last Saturday evening.
On the last day i.e. on Wednesday of Carnival the pre-Lenten party culminates on Ash with the Entierro de La Sardina, the Burial of the Sardine. This is a Spanish tradition that ridicules the ancient ecclesiastical tradition of burying the fat to mark the beginning of Lenten fasting. The traditional "Entierro de la Sardina" (The Burial of the sardine) is held with the participants all dressed in black carrying a cardboard sardine in a coffin which is theatrically and mournfully buried at a famous fountain (Fuente de los Pajaritos), marking the beginning of the fasting and reflection associated with Lent .The "fun times" are buried because of la Cuaresma (the Lent) - a time of fasting and praying takes over. The sardine is a symbol which reminds the people that now they will be eating fish instead of meat.
The most popular and fanciest of the fancy dress parties (costume parties as we would call them) takes place at the Círculo de Bellas Artes. This party features a masked ball, as well as live music and DJ performances. Everything is allowed: Humans transform themselves into animals, males become females, peons strut like kings, social station is scorned, decorum is debunked and blasphemy goes unblamed.
People tend to use Carnival as a time to transform themselves...... into anything.
People dress up as animals, men dress up like women,
and it all adds up to one big spectacle.
Out of curiosity, which fancy dress would you choose
to wear in Carnival?