Málaga Carnival Rhythm
27 January, 2016
If you go to Málaga in February, you are likely to be rewarded with a festive surprise over and above the city’s historical heritage, its incredible variety of museums, its beaches and its cuisine, in the shape of their Carnival. Indeed, when it comes to carnivals, Malagueñans would not be outclassed by the famous Carnival of Cádiz.
This year, from 30 January to 7 February, Málaga will be decked out in all its fancy-dress finery and turned into a veritable fiesta, a tribute to one of the raciest celebrations of the year – Carnival. But, what makes these festivities so special as to become a must-see?
1. A Splendid Climate
Situated in the south of Spain and bathed by the increasingly warmer waters of the Mediterranean, Málaga has a mild winter, enabling people to enjoy any outdoor activity to the full. This is also true of Carnival, known locally as the Fiesta del Invierno Cálido (Warm Winter Fiesta).
2. Murgas, Troupes and Quartet Gatherings
One of the highlights of this carnival are the gatherings of murgas, comparsas and quartets in the Teatro Cervantes, where they compete to be the wickedest band on stage and to see who delivers the wittiest song lyrics. While we’re at it, if you’re thinking of attending any of these performances, be sure to book ahead to avoid missing the shows.
3. Culinary Schedule
It couldn’t be otherwise – gastronomy plays a crucial role in Málaga’s Carnival, where traditional fare takes pride of place. The dishes you are most likely to encounter include berza (collard greens), potajes (vegetable stews), noodles, rices and paella, while the ongoing carnival background music is provided by the songs known as coplas.
4. Parades, Goddesses, Drag Queens and Even a Flower Fight
No carnival worth its salt could be without its parades, designed to delight the crowds with the colourful display of their variegated fancy dresses. One of the Malagueñan traditions that has endured to the present is the Flower Battle, which takes place in the Alameda Principal, at which petals and coloured paper flowers fly in all directions. The event has its origins in the 19th century, when the working classes took advantage of the carnival atmosphere to “assault” the privileged classes by throwing flowers at them as they filed past in their posh floats.
High notes of the parades include the election of the Carnival Gods and the Drag Queen Gala.
5. The Anchovy Burial
The anchovy, a fish which abounds in Málaga, is the protagonist of the last day of Carnival. At the “Anchovy Burial”, known here as the boqueroná,a procession is held at which a huge anchovy-shaped figure is paraded through the streets, from the central Calle Larios to La Malagueta Beach, where it ends up being torched.
Málaga – Aside from Carnival
Once you’re in Málaga, frenzied carnival merrymaking permitting, do take the chance to visit some of the many marvels to be seen in that beautiful city. We can wholeheartedly recommend Málaga Cathedral, built on the orders of the Catholic Kings when they conquered the city; the Alcazaba, a formidable Moorish fortress dating from the 11th century, the Roman Theatre and the beautiful Atarazanas Central Market, built over a former Nasrid naval shipyards of which the original marble door has been preserved. And, as befits the birthplace of Picasso, make sure you visit some of the art centres, which have turned Málaga into one of the favourite destinations of art lovers.
Put on your fancy dress and take a Vueling to Málaga to delight in its magnificent Carnival.
Text by ISABELYLUIS Comunicación
Images by Fundación Carnaval de Málaga
27 January, 2016