Carnival time in Spain is historically known as Shrovetide (pre-Lent) and occurs for a week during February or March depending on when Easter falls in the Catholic calendar.
It typically involves fiesta style partying with excessive consumption of food and alcohol, parades, costumes, mock battles etc. In the past, the six weeks prior to Easter was a time when Catholics undertook a period of fasting (abstinence), praying and other religious practices to prepare themselves for the upcoming Easter period. Carnival was seen as akin to a feast before the famine. In real terms a period of fasting during these winter months would have also made sense in other ways as winter supplies would be running out and the people needed to await the spring and new harvests. With the end of the Carnival (Ash Wednesday), there is, in Spain, another festival called El Entierro de la Sardina (Burial of the Sardine). This burial signifies that the fun is now over and Lent (Cuaresma), the time for fasting and praying, has now begun. The Sardine reminds Catholics that they should forsake meat for fish during this period. Although traditionally held to mark the end of Carnival, some cities and towns hold this event at other times.
Tel 968 128 800 – Market Mon
Cartagena Carnival – 17th-28th February
The annual Cartagena Carnival takes place a couple of weeks before Ash Wednesday in the Catholic calendar. Since the 1980's this Carnival has been recognised as an event of Regional Tourist Attraction. However, the Mayor of Cartagena is working towards having the Carnival declared as a National Tourist Attraction in the near future.
The programme of events can be viewed on the website www.carnavalcartagena.es and includes daily activities and competitions including dance groups, fancy dress, food and drink stands, and extravagant carnival parades. All age groups participate including schools, pensioner groups, students and various professional groups. The public is encouraged to come along to support and enjoy the festivities before the traditional period of Lent begins. Once Lent begins parties will cease until Semana Santa (Easter), unless you are really able to carry on partying after the long Carnival fiesta!
Tel 868 049 941/692 925 970 – Market Tues
San Pedro del Pinatar
Tel 968 182 301 – Market Thurs
Tel 968 172 041 – Market Thurs
Free Guided Boat Trip From La Manga del Mar Menor In Spanish – Saturday 11th February
Discover La Manga del Mar Menor and its surroundings, history and peculiarities on a guided boat trip from Tomás Maestre Marina in La Manga del Mar Menor to Santiago de la Ribera and back. 12.15pm.
Santiago de La Ribera in 1000 Steps, Tour In Spanish – Saturday 11th February - 11am from Tourist Office in Santiago de la Ribera. Booking essential.
Tel 968 579 937
4th February – Peter Pan @ CAES 6pm
Free Guided Visit to Cabezo Gordo in Spanish – Sunday 19th February