This is Cádiz

Apasionada de mi tierra, quiero contaros por qué tenéis que venir y la mejor forma de conocer Cádiz

ABC of the Carnival of Cádiz

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“Qué bonito, qué bonito, que bo..
Qué bonito está mi Cai,
Qué bonita es mi ciudad,
Qué rebosa de alegria,
Ay, cuando llega el carnaval”

-El profesor majareta y los niños probeta (1979) –

Nothing more to add to this popular and, unfortunately, more and more lost refrain of these holidays. If you are going to approach these carnivals to Cádiz, you have made the right decision! These days, more than ever, the streets will be full of joy, songs, art, lots of humor and, of course, more serious lyrics, of those that they give you goosebumps (“de pellizquito”, so you can become familiar) and, although it sounds “exagerao”, I guarantee that it will be like that.

When to come?

Officially, the carnival begins on February 28 and ends on March 10, officially… Now, I’ll explain how we measure the carnival unofficially, which is how it really works. If you are a fan of the contest, you have already had more than a month of carnival. For those of us who are more street, the carnival has three weekends, and that is how we all understand each other when it comes to staying. The first, the “Final”. The second, which for many people is the best. And the third, which is known as “Carnaval Chiquito” or “Carnaval de los Jartibles” (of the “pesaos”, to understand us)

How is the party?

If something characterizes the carnivals of Cádiz are their lyrics that, of course, are not suitable for the most sensitive to offense. The irony is the queen who, mixed with the art (that there is plenty) and social denunciation, review everything that happened during the last year. So, in summary, the carnival is heard.

Although there is the Concurso Oficial de Agrupaciones (COAC), whose Grand Final is Friday night, during the rest of the carnival, the groups sing on the street, and this is where we are going to find the first big difference. On the one hand, there are the contest and, on the other, the so-called “Las ilegales”, which are no more than those that go directly to the street to sing.

“Las ilegales” are usually groups of friends, families, etc … and, if they had not squandered enough imagination to write, do not miss detail of the “tipo” (el disfraz), because they are true works of art of recycling.

What should I know to not look like a “guiri”?

Here I am going to disappoint you because, to have tables on this, you will have to visit us on more than one occasion (and in more than two …). But do not worry, I’m sure you have not left yet and you’ll be thinking about going back!

  • The first important thing: Not all groups are “chirigotas”. (If you already knew this, we started better than good).

“La chirigota es la gracia,
La comparsa es diferente,
El cuarteto es la ironía,
Y el coro… y el coro son mucha gente … ”

– Tampax goyescas (2001) –
  • The instrument par excellence of the festival is “el pito de carnaval”.
  • The carnival of the street is free, and a lot of applause, but do me the favor of not being stiff and buy a booklet or a plate, which ask for the will “na ‘más”
  • Here there is no confetti, here they throw “papelillos”.
  • A very repeated cry: “amoscuchá”. The word itself says it, but I explain it to you: “Quillo”, I said that we did not find out and here we come to “escuchá”.
  • People dress up on the first Saturday. The rest of the days you will find some accessories, wigs, glasses … Actually, whatever you want, and for the most traditional ones, of course, some “coloretes coloraos”.
  • Leave the beer to one side because these days the purists drink manzanilla or moscatel, and the degree of antiquity of the personal can be seen according to the glass that should be useful. Glass of plastic, those who leave the step, hanging on one side, those who take the step, the hung and the straight, those are already professionals.

With this, and with the “pechá” of people there are those days, you will not attract much attention.

Basics to get

To get to Cádiz

If you come on Saturday or Sunday directly to spend the day, come armed with patience to start because, although we already have two bridges, jam you’re going to catch. So the best, come by public transport, because, if it’s already difficult to park in Cádiz a normal day, in carnival forget it.

To get to the center

In fact, almost all the carnival programming is concentrated in the center of the city or, as we also say here, in “Cai”. Although there is an extra fleet of buses these days, the truth is that they tend to be quite full and, if the weather is nice, with how close everything is, I recommend you take a walk down the promenade, because that is priceless.

If you want to have access to maps with the official program, with zones to listen to choirs, illegal and more tips, do not miss my next post.

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Eloisa D’Herbil


  1. Hi there! Such a great write-up, thanks!

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