Carnaval is one of Alicantes most lively winter fiestas in Spain! And Carnaval time in Alicante is a vibrant, colourful and fun fiesta, offering a welcome relief to the winter months.
Most people associate Carnavales with bikini clad girls, warm sunny weather, sandy beaches, stunning sunsets and dancing to samba music! However, Carnaval in Alicante, (or los Carnavales), does have girls in sparkly outfits and masks, but Carnaval in Alicante is held during February or March as this lively Alicante festival is celebrated as a lead up to Easter and especially the 40 days of Lent.
The whole of Alicante is decorated for the Carnaval and the parades are extremely colourful! The Carnaval parades in Alicante are not only processions, but there are also competitions for the best designed costumes with large cash prizes to be won. Several categories are judged including fancy dress, fantasy, individual and group costumes.
Carnaval in Alicante typically involves celebrations and parades combining elements of masks, circuses and street parties. Many people dress up during Carnaval in Alicante and participate in these parades, with many thousands of people in Alicante lining the streets to watch these fantastic spectacles!
Well, in the run up to the actual Carnaval, are various processions and festivities, all late at night. But the main Carnaval in Alicante is on the Saturday when the children dress up and parade down the Rambla de Mendez Nunez on the Sabado Ramblero in early evening. This street is full of decorations, stalls and a stage where the children display their Carnaval costumes with music and dance. Later, around 22.00, the same street comes alive with Carnaval Rock and the real party begins!
Traditionally a religious festival, Carnaval has its roots in the Christian calendar with the word carnaval supposedly coming from the Italian word carne vale, meaning farewell to meat. During the 40 days of Lent leading up to Easter, it was prohibited to eat meat and people abstained from any other type of pleasures including eating dairy products, sex and generally enjoying themselves. So, the Carnaval in Alicante celebrations were the last chance they had to indulge in every kind of excess before the 40 days of fasting, prayers and penitence.
The whole of Alicante comes alive during Carnaval, and below, Alicante Holiday Villas offers some of the highlights of the Carnaval in Alicante, to make the most if you are renting a holiday villa in Alicante during Carnaval.
The Jueves Lardero (or Fat Thursday) which takes place in Alicante on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday is the last Thursday before Lent. As such, it heralds the start of Carnaval in Alicante and there is a colourful parade from 22.00 through some of the main streets in Alicante, culminating in dancing and offerings in honour of Don Carnal. Traditionally in Alicante, this day is celebrated by eating square pastries called bizcocho, and round pastries called mona, as the idea is to eat as much as possible in preparation for Lent.
The next highlight of Carnaval in Alicante is the Sabado Ramblero on the Saturday before Ash Wednesday, where there is a massive carnival costume procession, like a masquerade ball, with music, dancing, decorated floats and stunning costume parades all along the Rambla de Mendez Nunez in Alicante in the early evening.
On Carnaval Tuesday there is yet another colourful parade along the streets of the Old Town in Alicante from 21.30, where the figure of Don Carnal (the spirit of Carnaval and earthly pleasures) is put on a mock trial and the Procesion del Pelele (puppet procession) parades through the streets of the Alicante' Old Town ending in Santa Faz followed by live music and dancing.
The Burial of the Sardine in Alicante happens on Ash Wednesday and involves a parodied wake through Alicante, starting from the Central Market at 21.00, to burn an effigy of the traditional sardine to signify that the fun times have finished and are now buried until next years Carnaval in Alicante because it is now Lent. Many of the masks and make-up are also buried until next year’s Carnaval in Alicante and this is then followed by live music and dancing all night!
So, if you are on holiday in Alicante with Alicante Holiday Villas during this time, make sure you sample the Carnaval in Alicante, just one of the many fiestas in Spain!