Carnival of Tarazona de la Mancha

Carnival of Tarazona de la Mancha
Italy has a long Carnival tradition. For example, the first recorded evidence of the Venetian Carnival dates back to 1268. The most famous carnivals of Italy are those held in Venice, Cento, Viareggio, Ivrea, Acireale, Gambettola, and Satriano. Another well-known Italian carnival is takes place in Tarazona de la Mancha. The Carnival of Tarazona de la Mancha has some features that distinguish it from other carnival celebrations.

The roots of the Carnival of Tarazona arguably date back to the Middle Ages. Miguel de Cervantes mentioned festivities in the area in his famous book Don Quixote. The Ordinance for Good Municipal Government (1899) addressed many Carnival-related issues including costumes and masks.

The Carnival of Tarazona originally lasted three days, but since 1985 it has been a six-day celebration. It begins on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent) and ends on Shrove Tuesday. Ash Wednesday used to be celebrated in the past, but the closing ceremony known as the Sardine Burial was discontinued in 1989.

Although the Carnival begins on Thursday, the official opening speech is delivered on Carnival Saturday from the balconies of the Town Hall at the main square of Tarazona. Each year a different carnival troupe is in charge of the speech.

The Carnival of Tarazona features numerous street processions which traditionally pass through the entire town and end up in the Plaza Mayor (central square). There are organized processions that feature official carnival troupes and have a fixed route as well as informal processions that anyone can join. The main highlights of the Carnival are the children’s parade held on Shrove Monday, the Women’s Carnival Day celebrated on Shrove Tuesday, and the Sunday parades. The program also includes masquerade balls, parties and other events

The Carnival of Tarazona is famous for its traditional disguise called mascaruta. It consists of a shoebox with a bed sheet draped over it. Revelers put mascarutas on their heads and hit each other with fly swatters (mosqueros).

Carnival of Tarazona de la Mancha

Photo: Jose Tendero Serrano




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