Carnaval Shenanigans 2016

This past weekend was my second time attending the Carnaval shenanigans here in Spain, and I have to say, this year was even better than the last!

Carnaval, or Mardi Gras in the U.S., is a huge street fair celebrated annually in predominantly Catholic countries around the world, especially in southern Europe and Brazil. It marks the beginning of the Catholic Lent season and is the last hurrah till Holy Week. Of all the crazy parties in Spain, Carnaval is debatably the wildest, with the biggest celebrations held in Tenerife and Las Pamas in the Canary Islands, Cadiz, and of course, Galicia (where I live)! Even if you only make it to a pueblo for this festival, it’s hard to have a bad time.

I spent Carnaval weekend in my small town in Galicia, the region of the costume masters. Galicia has the best costume parties because, for one, nearly all of Galicia’s festivals are disfraz-mandatory, and two, almost everyone makes their own costumes. I’m nowhere close to the creative level some people are on when it comes to finding a cool idea, designing and making it, but I’m getting a lot better! Galicia is rubbing off on me.

This year I chose to go as Freddy Krueger for Saturday night’s big party, and as a skeleton on Friday night. I started making Freddy’s sweater to get the exact look I wanted for the classic red and dark-green stripes. I used duct tape to measure and make even stripes and then spray painted it. It surprisingly was a ton of work, but worth it since it turned out perfect!

 

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I found a black fedora and Freddy’s classic glove of knives at a costume shop for 5€. I already had a skeleton sweatshirt—no, not just for Halloween—for my other costume, so the only step left was to do my makeup for each night. I feel I must give a big thanks and shout-out to these random pages for last-minute skeleton makeup and Freddy Krueger makeup video since they weren’t my original ideas. Even though I have virtually no makeup skills I was able to use these tutorials and pull off the looks! Ta-da!

 

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All ready and looking freaky, Dani (dressed as Kylo Ren) and I headed out in Noia and had one of the best times ever. I spent the night dancing, laughing, and taking a million pictures of people all dressed up, even complete strangers (like the total creeper I am). There were vampires, trophies, mimes, mad hatters, cowboys….see for yourself how cool everyone looked!

What really makes Carnaval so great every year aren’t just the cool costumes, it’s that it’s a special weekend to spend having a great time with all of your best friends. After staying in for months during the long, cold, and rainy winter in Galicia, you can count on everyone to finally come out of hibernation to get crazy with all their favorite people. It’s what we look forward to every spring.

I just love how Spanish people won’t miss a chance to “pasarlo bien” (pass the time well), and they don’t let anything get in the way of a good festival. When they party, they go big! Until next year!

 

Thanks for reading! How was Carnaval (or Mardi Gras) for you? How did you dress up? I’d love to hear about other traditions around the world, so please comment below and tell me! Happy travels!

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I’m an American expat living in Galicia. I want to inspire travel, learn a dozen languages, and try every food in the world.

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