One of my favorite things about Sanlúcar de Barrameda is that we get the best of both worlds; in Cádiz you have carnaval, in Seville you have feria…but in Sanlúcar you have both! What exactly is carnaval (carnival in English)? Think of Mardi Gras and Halloween combined to create a hybrid super fiesta! It’s a hot mess of costumes, cross-dressing, singing competitions, parades, drinking in the streets and much more.
Carnaval de Sanlúcar de Barrameda
The carnival in Sanlúcar is much smaller than Cádiz but it’s definitely worth checking out! This year the “big party” is Saturday night (March 4th) which consists of everyone dressing up in funny costumes and drinking in the streets. The parade will take place at 4:00pm on Sunday and make its way around town until about 9pm. Since Sanlúcar is in the province of Cádiz, the Sanlúquenos are just as excited about carnaval as their gaditano neighbors.
- In Sanlúcar we’ve go the crowds, costumes, and chirigotas too, not to mention the un-official gigantic botellón sesh all over the city. After dinner everyone goes to the main plaza in their cosutmes and drinks in the street all night (this gathering/drinking in public is called a botellón). Although botellón-ing (yes I made that up) is technically illegal, there are so many people doing it at carnaval that this usually law isn’t enforced on that Saturday 😉
- The difference between Sanlúcar and Cádiz however, is that the city isn’t insanely crowded; there’ll definitely be a huge amount of people, but you can still get into bars and restaurants and finding a place to use the restroom is not entirely impossible.
Video of carvanal parade in Sanlúcar. Skip to minute 5:15 on the video to see my favorite group from the parade, the Trojan’s and their giant wooden horse!
Getting your costume for carnaval
Many toy stores sell costumes and accessories for carnaval during the month of February as well as the chino stores (chinos are the equivalent to an American Dollar Store; they tend to be owned by Chinese families so the Spaniards have dubbed these stores as “Chinos”).
Here are some tips to keep in mind while preparing your carnaval costume:
- Get a group together and choose a costume theme: Many Spaniards tend to dress up with large groups of friends. Other than being a fun idea, it’s also pretty useful for not losing people during the night’s shenanigans. You’ll probably be pretty intoxicated so finding your friends will be easier if you’ve all got a similar costume on.
- Dress Warmly: I know back home in the States Halloween is all about sexy costumes for girls…but you will completely regret this decision as you freeze your tush off outside in the streets. Choose a funny costume and make sure you’ll be warm or else you won’t last very long as the temperature drops over the course of the night!
- Don’t wear cute shoes: Sorry to gross you out, but the streets will be covered in pee and alcohol so forget you plan to wear cute shoes…wear ones you won’t cry over if they get trashed.
I hope you found this information useful; learn from my experience and get the most out of the next carnaval you attend!