World's Best Carnival Celebration? Spain!

February 23, 2010

Carnival costumes parade spain andalusia

Are you dreaming of a Carnival vacation destination that the whole family can enjoy? Think Andalusia, Spain! It's true Rio de Janeiro, New Orleans' Mardi Gras and Venice, Italy are all divine and three of my favorite spots, but if you are looking for family friendly travel, I'd go for a small white village where the kids can even join in the fun.

Even the UK Mail names 2 places in Spain as best in the world for Carnival. Spaniards definitely know how to party and create community through ritual. I love the drums of Carnival that reverberate through the whole village!

world's best Carnival, drums, Spain, Andalusia, white village

This is our fourth winter in Spain in our lovely village and Carnival just gets better every year. We made this  video one year and I have written about our first Carnival in 2007 and got some great photos in 2009. I will have to get them up on Flickr one of these days.

Mozart has participated every year, but this is the first year that she did it with a group of friends. They decided to do it as American Indians which is fascinating to me because Mozart has some Indian blood in her. Thus kind of like an American Indian pretending to be an American Indian in Spain.

Part of what I enjoyed this year is how much Carnival is a part of Mozart now and how she enjoys doing this with kids in her school and all the families and people in our village. The mothers of all the other Indians were dressed up too, but my injured arm saved me from that fate.

world's best Carnival, Spain, Andalusia, white village,girl in Indian costume

Although 99% of the kids in her school are Spanish and come from this village, her little group of Indians (which spanned from third grade to fifth grade) included a girl from Poland, Italy, England, Scotland and our little American. Early on she was laughing when some boys in her class dressed as prisoners were climbing up a lamp post causing mischief and at the end she took some pictures for some teen friends and had a long chat with a girl in her class dressed up with a blond wig. Carnival is just part of this season in Spain.

world's best Carnival, drums, Spain, Andalusia, white village, kids

world's best Carnival, drums, Spain, Andalusia, white village 


This week the kids are out of school for a holiday which adds to the festive mood here that started this past Saturday with the Carnival. People of every age participate from babies to elders, but I think the joy of the children is what I relish the most. And the drums.

world's best Carnival, drums, Spain, Andalusia, white village, kids, Jesus

world's best Carnival, Spain, Andalusia, white village, Roman

world's best Carnival, Vikings, Spain, Andalusia, white village

world's best Carnival, drums, Spain, Andalusia, white village, flamenco, dressed in drag 

world's best Carnival, princess, fairy, Spain, Andalusia, white village, girl

world's best Carnival, drums, Spain, Andalusia, white village, girls

world's best Carnival, baby, Spain, Andalusia, white village 


world's best Carnival, drums, Spain, Andalusia, white village, witch

Always thrilling to have an excuse for the whole family and village to be a little wild, silly and irreverent, don't you think?

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Jen Laceda

Thanks for sharing all your lovely photos!!


I celebrated carnival in Venezia three years ago. What alot of fun :-)


What an awesome memory for Mozart to have as she grows older!

Lifecruiser Travel Blog

Oh, that's so fabulous! Now you made me long back to Andalusia! Such a wonderful part of Spain... *dreaming back*

Sofia - As We Travel

What anice carnival! They even have some swedish vikings haha! I like that :p


Jen- You are most welcome! ;)

Brit-I've always wanted to see Venice at Carnival, but we have a hard time breaking us away from friends here.

Christina- Thanks! Yes, I'm so pleased that she has this & all the wonderful festivals with friends here as part of her childhood memories!

Lifecruiser- Yes it does grow on you, especially in the winter & why so many Scandinavians visit here! ;)

Sofia- Thanks so much! We got a kick out of the vikings this year too! ;)


Looks like the whole family had a blast at the carnival! What great costumes!! We were at carnival in Colombia and they had one day's worth of parades just by the local school children and their costumes and dances was just jaw dropping. I bet Mozart would have fit right in. Here's some pics if you were interested in comparing between Colombia and Spain. Cheers :)

farmer kate

Hi- I'm really enjoying your blog as my family is planning a similar trip. A couple of questions:
1. What things did you pack that you didn't need, and what did you wish you had packed?

2. Does Mozart get grumpy? We have one child who tends to get cranky, especially on the road where he can't sleep as well and I worry it will be very disruptive for us all. How do you deal with typical kid moods?



Aly-Thanks! I'm always amazed at how different South America is compared to Spain, yet the influence is always there. I've been to Brazil, but we look forward to our long stay when we'll explore S America deeply.

Kate- Thanks & how exciting! We did not need our top of the line quad phone or satellite for internet & I can't think of a thing that we wished we'd packed....except LESS!

Of course Mozart & all of us have our grumpy moods because we're human & EVERY life has moments of stress...even a vacation life.

The key is going slow & doing the best we can to make sure everyone's needs are met. If needs are met, then far less grumpiness. We intentionally focus on living joyfully no matter what!

Mozart is a very sensitive, high needs kid from babyhood, but it has been no worse on the road than not.She can be VERY dramatic, but luckily she is also full of joy.

Sometimes one just has to deal with more stress like when I broke my arm, we have a long journey etc. Talking & educating through these times helps.

Being in close quarters on the road & adventure bonding creates a real feeling of a that! We have a family "soultravelers3" cheer we do regularly & a "all for 1, one for all" 3 musketeers attitude.

Make sure EVERYONE gets enough sleep/food always & go slow enough to meet these needs or catch up asap.

You won't escape all problems on the road, some will escalate, but you will have so much fun, freedom & rewards that you'll handle all easily plus gain strength & confidence as you go.

Most of the things you worry about before going are not worth worrying about!

Andy Hayes | Sharing Travel Experiences

Wow - looks like crazy fun. SO many different costumes! Thanks for sharing.


This does seem a lot more family friendly than Rio de Janeiro carnival! Cool photos.

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