In Spain, the tradition of celebrating carnival is well spread around the whole country. I have the best memories celebrating Carnavales, and it is actually the celebration I miss the most!
Who invented Carnaval?
The word carnaval comes from the Italian word carnevale which derives from latin (carne = meat, levare= put away). So it literally means “bye bye to the meat”.
Lent is an important time for Christians around the world. It is a 40-day reflection period before Easter and it starts after Ash Wednesday. Lent period is associated with fasting and giving up certain luxuries in order to commemorate the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert.
It is not strange then, that people would take advantage of the days before starting lent to enjoy in excess all kinds of foods, meat, and alcohol. Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras) it is one of the feasts days, and many places celebrate Carnival on that day, such as New Orleans.
However, in Spain, the celebrations and feasting start one week earlier on Fat Thursday.
What do we eat on Jueves Lardero?
The tradition in Catalonia, where I’m from, we call it “Dijous Gras” and the tradition is to eat botifarra (catalan sausage), Spanish omelette, and coca de llardons (sweet pork rind flatbread). In other places in Spain they also eat chorizo and other pork meat.
Coca de Llardons
Coca de llardons is a simple but tasty treat! It is made with puff pastry, crunched pork rinds, sugar, and pine nuts! If you never tried it, you should!
Here is The Obrador recipe of coca de llardons so you can do it at home and have a bite of this Catalan sweet tradition!
Carnavales are the best!
Carnavales are celebrated in small towns and big cities. The celebrations usually last for a few days, and involve different events.
The main carnival celebration is usually on Saturdays and involves big parades and public street parties. People elaborate costumes and masks. Floats, big and small, drive around the town at the sound of music. People throw confetti, dance, sing, and have a lot of fun!
Most popular Carnavales in Spain
We couldn’t talk about carnival without mentioning the one in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. It is the most well-known carnival in Spain, and it’s held in the Canary Islands where the weather is nice even if it’s mid-February! It is considered the second most popular and internationally known carnival, after the one held in Rio de Janeiro, so if you have the chance, do not hesitate in living the experience!
Other popular carnavales are the one in Cadiz, Sitges, Badajoz, and Vinaros, among others!
So, again, if you have the chance to go to any carnaval in Spain, do not say no!