Cadiz Carnival Programme 2021

This year because of COVID-19, the carnival is cancelled. Therefore I have left the programme of 2020 to see what is the normal Cadiz Carnival Programme. This blog contains Cadiz carnival programme translated. Cadiz Carnival is the most famous carnival in Spain with international touristic interest designation.

It is characterized by 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 be found singing 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 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 2020

It officially starts 20th February up to 8th March. Below is the Cadiz Carnival Programme for 2020

20th February

12:30h- City council of Cadiz, Start of the carnival.

19:30 and 21:00- Falla theatre, Children of the schools sing dressed up (19:30), final of ballads (21:00)

22:30- Concert in “Plaza San Antonio”

21st February

20:30-Falla theatre, Final COAC (Carnival Official Group Contest) 2020

22nd February

12:00- Children’s parade in costume

13:30 to 18:00- Singing contest by children

22:00 – Falla theatre, COAC 2020 prize-winning groups will perform

22:30-“Plaza San Antonio” First prize COAC 2020 will perform.

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

23rd February

13:00- Choirs at central market/”Plaza Mina”

17:30- Grand parade at “Glorieta Ingeniero de la Cierva/ Puertas de Tierra

Carnivals costume parade

22:30- Concert at “Plaza de San Antonio”

24th February

13:00- Choirs at central market/”Plaza Mina”

22:00- Festival “Plaza de San Antonio”

25th February

16:00- 40th annual contest of tanguillos (Cadiz’s flamenco style) at “Sala Momart”

18:00- Puppet theatre at “Plaza San Francisco”.

19:30- Groups singing at “Barrio de la viña” and “Plaza de Candelaria” and at 20:30 at “C/America” and at “Plaza San Francisco”.

21:30- They burn the “God Momo” (A big puppet)

26th February

16:00- 40th annual contest of tanguillos (Cadiz’s flamenco style) at “Sala Momart”

17:00 to 20:00- Children’s carnival costume contest at “Plaza San Antonio”

18:00- Puppet theatre at “Plaza San Francisco”.

19:30- Groups singing at “Barrio de la viña” and “Plaza de Candelaria” and at 20:30 at “C/America” and at “Plaza San Francisco”.

27th February

15:00- Choirs contest outside of the walls at “Segunda aguada”.

16:00- 40th annual contest of tanguillos (Cadiz’s flamenco style) at “Sala Momart”

18:00- Puppet theatre at “Plaza San Francisco”.

19:30- Groups singing at “Barrio de la viña” and “Plaza de Candelaria” and at 20:30 at “C/America” and at “Plaza San Francisco”.

21:00- Ballads at “Barrio del Mentidero”

22:30- Concert “Plaza de San Antonio”

28th February

11:00 to 14:00- Performance by prize-winning tanguillo groups (Cadiz’s flamenco style) at “Plaza San Antonio”

14:00 to 19:00- Contest of popular folk songs for the Day of Andalusia

16:00 t0 21:00 –  Circuit of Ballads  at “Barrio de la viña”

22:30- Concert “Plaza de San Antonio”

29th February

13:00- la viña”, “Paseo maritime”

14:00 to 19:00- Children’s games at “Plaza San Antonio”

19:00- Parade of humor at the old town.

22:30- Concert “Plaza de San Antonio”

1st March

13:00 to 18:00- Children’s games at “Plaza San Antonio”

13:00- at “Mercado central” and “Plaza Mina”

21:00- Burning the witch Piti at “Paseo Fernando Quiñones”

21:30- Fireworks at “Castle San Sebastian”

8th March

Carnaval chiquito: One last day when Cadiz gets full of people dressed up and groups sing in the streets for the last time in the year.

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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