That’s My Circus and My Monkeys: Carnival 2018

Before my 9:30 alarm had even gone off, Dani was already awake trying to get me up. I jokingly pulled the covers over my head and gave my normal response of, “Give me 30 more minutes.” Mornings aren’t usually my thing and even less on a Saturday. But this wasn’t just any old day, this Saturday was Carnival!

Too excited to sleep those previously requested minutes, I threw off the covers and hopped out of bed. It was time to watch YouTube tutorials to figure out how talented people do makeup and “costume up” for a long day of fun.

For the first main weekend of Carnival I had dressed up as Eleven from the series Stranger Things. I have to say—thank god for all the new “friki” shows coming out. Thinking of two new costumes every year is proving more and more difficult. I went sporting a platinum-blonde wig, dress, blue jacket, and white knee-high gym socks, with fake blood coming out of my nose and all. With my (makeshift) box of Eggos tucked under my arm, I headed out for the night and immediately ran into a demogorgon.

Now it was the second weekend of Carnaval, and like last year’s infamous Trump party, our friends threw their annual themed lunch party. The theme this year? You guessed it!

Welcome to the circus!

Contrary to the famous Polish idiom and my mom’s favorite phrase: yes, that’s my circus and my monkeys!

By 2:00 that day our whole circus had met at Jaratusas bar in town. We rolled out the red carpet and our ringmaster presented each different act.

There were clowns, dancing hippos, a bear and its trainer, concession salesmen, and The Human Bullet. Houdini, with the help of his lovely assistant, escaped from a box while in chains. The knife thrower managed not to—ahem—pop his partner during the Wheel of Death act. And The Two-Headed Girl and contortionist amazed the crowd with their talents while I used my gift of sight to reveal the future.

It goes without saying that our group can really draw a crowd. The amount of thought and effort that people put into costumes here will never cease to amaze me. Many of our friends worked for months on these.

I did my best to get good photos of as many costumes as I could, but this group is rowdy! They had me laughing harder than I thought possible.

After the gran espectáculo and one more bar, we headed to the ringmaster’s house for “lunch.” (We never start eating until around 5:00 p.m. so call it what you will.) If you read my article from last year you know we had the typical Carnaval food: cocido, orellas, and filloasThese Galician foods with an Estrella Galicia to wash it down and you’ve got a perfect meal!

The rest of the night, well you can imagine! Lots of 80’s classics, tons of dancing, and laughing till your stomach hurts. As an American I hate to say it, but Galician Carnaval has Halloween and almost any other costume party beat! Until next year!

Thanks for reading! Have you ever celebrated Carnaval in Galicia or Spain? Which costume from this year was your favorite? Leave me a comment below. As always, 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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