Origen of Carnival of Cádiz

Carnival is a festival dating back to the Middle Ages. There is information about the origin of its name. According to the Catholics the name comes from carne- levare, meaning "to remove meat" (mandatory requirement for the Christians during every Friday of the Lent) or the pagan origin of a celebration where meat is offered to god Baal (carna-baal) in a festival where everything was possible.

There are records of the Carnival of Cadiz since the 16th century; where there are documents about some workers who refused to work by the fact coincide with this festival. Also it is exposed that, during the Carnival season, the women from Cadiz plucked the flowers that were in pots to throw them each other as a joke.

Carnival of Cadiz took influences from the Venetian and Genoese Carnival because, looking for a convenient position with Africa, its merchants settled down in our city, so we can hear surnames that seem to come from Cadiz in Cadiz as Paoli, Bianchi, Soprani o Rossety. The use of masks, streamers, confetti, and assimilated elements comes from the Italian Carnival, as well as the typical characters of the Commedia dell'Arte: Colombina, Arlequin and Pierrot, costumes without which we could not understand our Carnival nowadays.

Moreover, in the 18th century the orders trying to banish the Carnival are reiterated. In 1716, the masked balls were banned by order of the Crown; these prohibitions were repeated throughout the century. In spite of everything, there is evidence which can confirm that the contempt of the orders was quite remarkable.

Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the Carnival was influenced by the different leaders of the country, with corresponding prohibitions and restrictions, but already at the end of the 20th century the Carnival that nowadays we know appeared, the free and democratic Carnival. Thereafter the Carnival of Cadiz has done nothing other than to grow and become more and more known, thanks to their costumes, contests and parades.

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