Cadiz Carnival Programme 2023

This blog contains Cadiz carnival programme of 2022 translated. Cadiz Carnival is one of the most famous carnivals in Spain with international touristic interest designation.

Cadiz’s carnival main focus is humour. Through sarcasm and irony, the groups and the people of the street complain by singing about the current events and political parties in Spain. While some carnivals elsewhere in the world focus on glamorous costumes and spectacular dances, Cadiz stands out for its clever and imaginative theatrics.

Cadiz Carnival

The first references to Cadiz’s carnival that are known come from the sixteenth century. Cadiz Carnival has some influence from the Genoese culture from Italy that has existed in Cádiz since the fifteenth century. After the Turks’ displacement to the Mediterranean, Italian merchants ventured West instead, settling in Cadiz. Cadiz became a commercial center, with easy connections to the north as well as Africa. As well as products, the Italian merchants brought influence from their culture. The carnival masks, serpentines and confetti in the Cadiz carnival are all assimilated from the Italian carnival.

Origin of carnival

However, the origin of carnival comes from long before that. Before the emergence of Christianity, Ancient Greece and Italy had wild celebrations centered around the solstices, and equinoxes. But people did not want to give up these celebrations, even after they became Christians.  Therefore the Catholic Church adopted many of the celebrations, overlaying them with Christian meanings.  For instance, the  feast dedicated to Saturn, the god of agriculture, and to the god of wine, Bacchus. This festival celebrated around the longest night of the year (December 17), became the Roman Empire’s celebration of Christmas (December 25th).

One celebration was postponed until the week before Lent began, around the time of the spring equinox.  The new springtime celebration came to be called carnival or carnaval. This name comes from the Latin words carnis (“flesh” or “meat”) and levare (“to leave off”), since the end of the carnival festival leads to the start of Lent, during which the population had to renounce meat and other pleasures of the flesh. Most of the medieval carnival festivals climaxed on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Lent officially began on Ash Wednesday. In Latin, Shrove Tuesday is mardis gras.

Musical groups

Carnival is celebrated with many different types of musical groups and performance. However, the most famous groups are the chirigotas, the choirs, and the comparsas.


These are witty and satirical groups that train for the whole year to sing about politics, topics in the news, and everyday circumstances. All of the group members wear identical costumes. There is an official competition in Teatro Falla for the best group each year. Yet they can also sing in the streets and squares, at improvised venues and in established open-air tablaos (tableaux) organized by the carnival clubs.


The chirigotas are quite similar to the comparsas in that they also sing together as a group in identical costumes. However, the chirigotas’ tunes are happier with more positive lyrics even though they may address the same subjects as the comparsas. They also compete in the Teatro Falla for the awards.

Choirs (coros)

The coros are larger groups that travel through the streets on open flat-bed carts or wagons, singing, with a small band of guitars and lutes. They are famous for their characteristic “Carnival Tango” and they alternate between comical and serious songs. They will often sing songs with tribute to the city and its citizens. Their costumes are much more sophisticated and elaborate than the rest.

Musical forms

The Presentation is the first piece sung to present the characterisation of the group, called its tipo. The style of the music is completely unstructured and free. It can be a well-known musical form, an original composition, or even a spoken-word recitation.

The Couplet is a song sung by the chirigotas, comparsas, choirs, and quartets. They are short satirical songs with a repeated chorus that the audience will often join in singing. The song is always related to the costume and the characterisation (tipo) of the group.

The Pasodoble is a longer song without a chorus. It is usually (but not always) serious, criticising a current event that occured in the previous year or as an homage to somebody well-known. The pasodoble is sung by the comparsas and the chirigotas.

The Tango, with its characteristic gaditano rhythm is sung only by the choirs and accompanying orchestra. Typically they are poetic songs.

The Potpourri, sung by all of the groups, uses well-known songs that were popular over the year or any other kind of music depending on the group’s tipo, and changes the lyrics.


Cadiz’s carnival programme 2023

It officially starts 18th to 26th of Februarye. Below is the Cadiz Carnival Programme for 2023. However take into account that the best part of the carnival in Cadiz is to walk around in the evening and listen to the different non official chirigotas singing in the streets.

16th February

Final of the Romance contest in the falla theatre

17th February

20:30-Falla theatre, Final COAC (Carnival Official Group Contest) 2023

18th February

Start of Carnival with the composer Joaquín Quiñones will get the carnival started in Candelaria square.

19th February

Performances in plaza la Caterdral,  Grand parade with costumes and concert at plaza San Antonio.

20th February

Chorus parade in Central Cadiz, performances at Plaza de la Catedral, Plaza de San Agustín, in Plaza de San Antonio and in the Barrio de la Viña.

21st February

Children party and pupets in San Francisco. Performances in San Agustín and act and burning the Gran Momo en la Plaza de San Antonio.

22nd February

Children party and pupets in San Francisco. Performances in Barrio de la Viña, Plaza de San Francisco, Calle América, at the Plaza de San Agustín, and in Calle Plocia.

Blog Cadiz's carnival photo of Carnival parade
Badajoz carnival parade

23rd February

Children party and pupets in San Francisco. Performances at barrio de El Mentidero, calle Plocia, Barrio de la Viña and in the Barrio de El Pópulo. Great concert at Plaza de San Antonio.

24th February

Performances at Plaza de San Juan de Dios, Plaza de San Agustín and at the Barrio de la Viña. Great concert at Plaza de San Antonio.

25th February

Final competition of Tanguillos (type of flamenco from Cadiz). Performances at calles del centro, and paseo marítimo. Humour parade and food events. Great concert at Plaza de San Antonio.

26th February

Programme for children. Parades in the streets at te downtown.

Food events: Berza from te carnival at Avenue Murallas de San Carlos, tortillada de camarones in avenue Campo de la Aviación; Fried food from Cadiz with performances at the Plaza Candelaria, Burning the witch Piti. Ending the carnival with a light show.

Full day tours in Vejer de la Frontera and Cadiz province

I hope this Cadiz carnival programme will help you to design your holiday to Cadiz. If you are looking for what gourmet food of Andalusia, traditional and Sherry wine tours in Cadiz, then keep reading. I will now take advantage to show off to you the great food tours in Vejer de la Frontera and throughout Cadiz province that we do.

If you want to visit any of the festival and don’t know where to start, just talk to us! Each village has their own different highlights and events happening. This is an event not to miss. If you’ll be in Cadiz make sure to check any of the food festivals of Bluefin tuna in Cadiz province. We focus on food, sherry and cultural tours in Cadiz province, specializing around Vejer de la Frontera.

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