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Carnival in Ibiza?

Carnaval op Ibiza

Carnival in Ibiza?

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    Carnival is a very important celebration in Ibiza. As in many southern Catholic countries, it is celebrated for five days around the first Sunday of Lent. The Sunday and Wednesday after the Carnival weekend are the best days to head to Ibiza town.

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    Sunday at the end of the morning, a carnival parade departs. Check the route carefully because it would be a shame if you are on the wrong street. Last year, the parade started at the port, heading toward Avenida D’Isodor Macabich and went back through Avenida d’Espanya before finally stopping at Vara de Rey. And as is not often the case in Ibiza, this parade left last year exactly at the time announced!

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    In the Netherlands, carnival is the celebration of “madness, ridicule and exuberance” and we prefer to hoot and holler in polonaise after polonaise from kroegie to kroegie. But in Ibiza it still has more of a tropical atmosphere and reminds us more of the samba parade in Rio de Janeiro or in terms of costumes of the carnival in Venice. But then, of course, all slightly smaller.

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    We were pleasantly surprised last year by the amount of young talented groups, so large and colorful. Often they are clubs, ballet and dance groups that showcase their skills. Many seamstresses work for months to make all these costumes. Even the makeup and face paint, hair braids, accessories, everything fit perfectly. There is always live music, percussion and lots of popular music.

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    The parade ended last year at the Vara de Rey, where a huge paella was made and meals were bought for just 2 euros a plate.

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    We are hoping for a nice warm sunny day this year, as the weather in Ibiza this past week was not really good for walking around town alone in your thong and a feather comforter.

    If you would like to see the Ash Wednesday Parade, be sure to find out which association has organized this year’s parade and in which part of Ibiza town. A few years ago it was the carnival society of Dalt Vila, probably on a high budget and was wonderfully catered. The members were all dressed in black baroque costumes, including high powdered wigs and black voiles. The makeup on the women as well as the men was really great! The association members, including their children in baroque mini-version costumes, walked down the street crying actedly. Then began a dramatic death march. Men in top hats and pawn coats walked behind the drum band, carrying a stretcher on which lay a large sardine made of silver fabric, followed by stilt walkers again. Sardines were ritually burned at the port and real grilled sardines were handed out to spectators.

    If you are unprepared in town on that Wednesday night you won’t know what you see! We were quite startled by all that dramatic violence, but eventually we understood what was going on. And eating those sardines is a bit like “haringhappen” in Dutch Brabant and Limburg, after going to church for your ash cross.

    So …. If the sun is shining this coming weekend and you’re on the island, don’t miss the carnival!

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