Welcome to Cádiz. A beautiful city and port in south western Spain, in the autonomous community of Andalusia. Regarded by many as the oldest continuously inhabited city in Western Europe. The city was founded by the Phoenicians.
Cádiz is a small island located where the Guadalete River meets the sea. Tt is immersed in the Natural Park of the Bay of Cádiz, and is situated 124 km from the regional capital, Seville. She was named by Lord Byron as “Sirena del Océano” and is popularly known as the “Tacita de Plata“.
This city in Spain is not only known for the “grace” of its people, but also for its carnival. For many, it’s the best in the world, even better than Rio de Janeiro.
ORIGIN OF THE CARNIVAL
Scholars have tried to know the exact origin of the Carnival, trying to see possible links. The Bacchanalia (in honor of the god Bacchus), the Saturnalia (the god Saturn), and the Lupercarles (in honor of the god Pan), might be related to its origin. All celebrations that took place in ancient Greece and classical Rome.
However, the Cadiz Carnival is the fruit of Christianity. Without the idea of Lent, it would not exist in Europe as it has since the European Middle Ages. Christianity establishes a passionate order of time, in which episodes of joy and sadness alternate, depending on the time of prohibitions or tolerances. The Carnival is the consequence of the simple conception of the time that Christianity adopts. A conception adjusted to life cycles and crops.
EL LIBRO DEL BUEN AMOR (ARCIPRESTE DE HITA)
The Book of Good Love, a classic of Spanish literature written by the Archpriest of Hita, explains in a symbolic way the history of the carnival.
Don Carnal, worldly man and lover of pleasures, is challenged by Doña Cuaresma to end a dispute in battle that will take place in one week, on Ash Wednesday. Don Carnal accepts and after 7 days goes to the battlefield accompanied by his army (oxen, pigs, chickens, calves and goats), to confront the open field with Doña Cuaresma and his legion (vegetables and seafood).
After an exhausting day of battle, both opponents decide to retire to their tents to rest. Therefore, Don Carnal takes the opportunity to indulge in an impressive banquet, which makes him fall into a very heavy sleep. Doña Cuaresma, sees the great opportunity of this moment, and without losing a second, she makes his enemy prisoner thus winning the battle. From the first day of its expiration, the Ash Wednesday, the glutton of Don Carnal is forced to confess. Duo to its sins, he is forced to do penance of fasting and abstinence.
Meanwhile, Doña Cuaresma celebrates during the period prior to Holy Week. After forty days (Lent), Don Carnal begins to be sorry for his former way of life, hedonistic and gluttonous. But, during the Palm Sunday he feels an unexpected impulse. It motivates him to outwit Don Ayuno, and escape from his cell. Once released, he gathers his companions and decides to take revenge on Doña Cuaresma. When Don Carnal suspects the possible attack of his opponent she decides to flee in the direction of Jerusalem, the night of Good Friday. The next day, on Saturday of Gloria, Don Carnal with Don Amor, Don Almuerzo and Doña Merienda, enter the city on a musical carriage to parade his victory.
CADIZ CARNIVAL, MUCH MORE THAN A CELEBRATION
Cadiz Carnival represents passion, fun, joy, and great doses of emotion. Cádiz invites anyone who wishes to attend such parties. In fact, there are venues which host them and, for free, offer tastings and drinks for such revellers. Each and every one of these parties are set in a carnival climate. So, while you eat the products that give name to the event itself, the first notes of the chirigotas and comparsas are already playing.
So, why hesitate …. vente pa Cádiz, killo!!! 😀
Post written by Dan.
Translation, Lauren Housley.