We Spanish love music, humour and partying. All our favourite things come together this time of year for our annual carnivals - public affairs that celebrate the run-up to Lent.
Carnivals are held nationwide between the months of February and March. Big cities and tiny towns alike come together to celebrate impressive carnivals, one of the most impressive of which can be found in Marbella.
Tens of thousands of people flock to this Andalusian beach town every year to join the locals in celebrating our annual carnival. The three-week event is the ultimate expression of fun, joy, music and humour.
Carnival History: A Dictator’s Ban and Famous Features
Carnivals mark a time where authority is thrown out the window and, to an extent, mocked. Politicians and celebrities are mocked with the carnival-goers imitation costumes. Street musicians wear their colourful costumes whilst cheerfully performing for the public.
The anti-authoritarian traditions of the carnivals has not always been appreciated. Former Spanish dictator, Francisco Franco, was not known for his sense of humour. He saw the carnivals as a source of national rebellion against authority. During his ruling, he banned the celebration of the carnivals for over 40 years.
The roots of the carnivals are rumoured to go back to Roman times. It has been said that they were brought to Andalusia by Genoese traders in the 16th Century.
Famed for the elaborate costumes, fancy dress is essential when attending the carnival, and you’re seen as somewhat of a party-pooper if you don’t dress up.
Traditional attractions include music concerts, the procession of the Carnival King and Queen, firework displays and performances by “romanceros”. The romanceros are solo musicians that wander the town’s streets performing and illustrating their humorous stories for the public.
Marbella Carnival 2017
This year's carnival in Marbella will kick off this Sunday, 12th February and be celebrated through to the 4th March.
Artwork for the 2017 Marbella Carnival poster was created by local artist Benito Leal. The name of his painting is “Mensaje en una botella”, translating to “Message in a bottle”. 2017 marks the first year that the carnival artwork was voted for by the public. During a press conference last week, Leal noted that his chosen painting represented the “colourful essence of the Carnival” and thanked Marbella’s citizens for voting for him.
During the press conference, hosted by Marbella events councillor, Manuel García, and the President of the Cultural Association of the Marbella Carnival, Francisco Román, it was also announced that local artist Juan Delola would serve as this year’s town crier throughout the festivities.
Mr García explained 'this year we have organised more carnival activities for the younger generation. We want to ensure the carnival grows and provides entertainment and activities for all ages.'
More information on the Carnival’s events can be found on the Ayuntamiento’s website. Please note the information is currently only available in Spanish.
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