San Fernando Carnival, happening 10 to 18 February 2024, is almost as popular as the Cadiz Carnival.
By Liza S. | Updated 5 Feb 2024 | Cádiz | Events | Login to add to YOUR Favourites or Read LaterThis article has been visited 1,247 times
San Fernando Carnival
Step into the vibrant heart of Cadiz province to experience the San Fernando Carnival, a spectacle of colour, culture, and joy that epitomises the festive spirit of southern Spain. Held annually in the historic city of San Fernando, this carnival is a lesser-known gem that offers a more intimate yet equally enchanting experience compared to its more famous counterparts.
Here, tradition blends with modernity, as the streets come alive with the sounds of music, the laughter of revellers, and the dazzling display of costumes that range from the whimsical to the wonderfully bizarre. Beyond the parades and performances, the San Fernando Carnival is a deep dive into local customs, with gastronomic delights, artisanal crafts, and spontaneous singing competitions that showcase the unique art of 'chirigotas'.
The San Fernando Carnival begins on Saturday with the official opening, various contests and the tasting of local foods.
The doubtfully named ‘Gran Pollada Popular’ (that translates to ‘Big Popular Cock’) is actually a gastronomic feast of chicken wings, closely followed by the ‘Quesada Popular’, during which the best local cheese is chosen and the manufacturer of that cheese is named ‘The Big Cheese’ or ‘Mayor Quesero’.
Then you have the most popular tortilla, the most popular shrimp, and the ’Popular Gran Butifarrada’. Butifarrada is a type of sausage, quite delicious.
The contests and gastronomic offerings continue through the week, with events centred on Plaza Rey. You will discover many cultural activities, concerts, fancy dress contests and performances by the local choir.
The final Sunday sees the Grand Parade, floats, parades and carnival groups, not to mention the ubiquitous brass bands.
In 2024, San Fernando Carnival present several new features at Plaza del Rey, including a larger stage and enhanced lighting. The decoration theme focuses on the serpentine, an iconic Carnival element, and will feature in the overall decor, tents, and stage.
The opening gala on 10 February marks the beginning of nine days of festivities, with special emphasis on street activities, peñas, and the Concurso de Romanceros, culminating in a grand parade that showcases the best of local talent and community spirit.
The San Fernando Carnival stands out as being one of the most humorous and fun carnivals in Andalucia.
From the spellbinding performances of local comparsas to the infectious energy of the chirigotas, every moment of the San Fernando Carnival promises laughter, excitement, and a deep sense of community. Whether you're dancing in the streets, savoring the local gastronomy, or simply soaking in the festive atmosphere, the San Fernando Carnival offers a unique opportunity to experience the warmth and vitality of Spain like never before.
For more on San Fernando, check out our visitors guide to San Fernando.
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