Carnival has a special significance in a country with such deep outdoor festive roots as Spain. Not as famous or televised as Rio, Venice and New Orleans, Carnival time in Spain is, together with Easter and Christmas, one of its main popular festivities, celebrated nationwide with street parades, costume balls, beauty pageants and bank holidays.
On the mainland, the Andalusian city of Cádiz hosts the most popular urban Shrovetide celebrations. Year after year, thousands of Spaniards head to the Southern capital to embrace days of music, wine drinking and laugh listening to the murgas or chirigotas, groups of witty locals who make fun of politicians and VIP's and review the prior year's happenings.
Hundreds of villages and towns all around the nation celebrate Carnival in a less flamboyant and internationalized way, like in San José de la Rinconada where my students have been at least two weeks discussing their costumes.
I was astonished to discover how wonderful and surprising some of the costumes are.
The celebration begins with a parade where groups of disguised friends walk along the main streets ending with the God and Goddess of the carnival. During the tour the costume contest starts and the winners will be announced at the end.