Cádiz postpones its Carnival to June 9 for fear of new waves of the coronavirus
Interior of the Gran Teatro Falla in Cádiz during the Carnival Group Contest at the Teatro Falla, in a file image.Roman Rios

Cádiz will sound like Carnival again in June 46 years later. This time it will not be because of those Typical Fiestas in which the Franco regime converted it until the arrival of democracy, if not because of the fear of a new wave of the pandemic. The City Council announced on Tuesday its decision to celebrate the most important festival in the city – declared an Asset of Cultural Interest and International Tourist Interest – from June 9 to 19, after the suspension of the 2021 edition due to the coronavirus. Those days of celebration in the street will make the famous Carnival Group Contest (COAC) previously have to start around April 25, shortly after Easter, and extend throughout the month of May. The new agenda “worked for months”, according to the Consistory, upsets the tourist calendar of festivals and will lead to singular overlaps, such as the coincidence with fairs in other localities or religious festivals such as Corpus right on those same days.

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A host of motivations has led the City Council to make the unique decision, as explained by the Councilor for Culture and Festivities, Lola Cazalilla, during the second edition of the Cádiz Carnival forum held this Tuesday afternoon. Under the premise “of the right to culture and health as a priority”, as the Council has clarified in a later statement, the change of dates has come after “the inconveniences that it presented” celebrating Carnival on the days that it They would have corresponded according to the calendar that determines Lent and Holy Week in the Catholic tradition: from February 26 to March 1. That would have forced the Contest to start just from January 8, which “could coincide with a new peak of the pandemic after Christmas and the meetings that take place on those dates, as happened last year,” according to Calzadilla has justified.

The traditional date also implied starting in this month of September with the rehearsals of the groups – choirs, chirigotas, comparsas and quartets -, which forces to concentrate groups of several dozen interpreters in small rehearsal rooms and with risk of contagion . In fact, although some groups had already found larger and safer spaces, not all had yet. The situation of child and youth groups – made up of population groups not yet immunized – and the large concentrations that take place in the street on holidays have ended up tilting the municipal balance by postponing the festival.

In the new calendar, the COAC held at the Gran Teatro Falla would start around April 25 and would last until the beginning of June, where it would end in a Grand Final now divided into two sessions, instead of one. The extension —conditioned to the number of groups from all over Spain that usually register— is due to a program in which fewer groups will act per session to avoid crowds since days will be left without competition so that there is room for maneuver in the event of possible incidents caused. due to the pandemic, such as lockdowns.

Juan de Dios Aragón and Sonia Espinosa, from the decoration company 'Achicarte', in their workshop last February, after the party was canceled.
Juan de Dios Aragón and Sonia Espinosa, from the decoration company ‘Achicarte’, in their workshop last February, after the party was canceled.Juan Carlos Toro

In addition, the City Council will require the interpreters the vaccination certificate or antigen test, before getting on the Falla tables. The street party will be held from June 9 to 19. “Taking into account how the pandemic has passed, there are many more possibilities in June than in February that the Carnival in the street can be developed in the most similar way among the possible ones as it usually does”, they have pointed out from the Consistory.

The chosen calendar is reminiscent of the days in which the Typical Gaditan Festivities were celebrated, a substitute for Carnival devised by the Franco regime from 1948 and which moved to May from 1967. On June 6, 1976 it was celebrated for the last Once this celebration passed through censorship and, the following year, it returned to its usual date and name. After the celebration of Carnival 2020 a few days after the state of alarm was decreed for the pandemic and the suspension of this year, that of 2022 in June promises to be temporary and conditional on the duration of the pandemic. For now, the reactions to the change of artists or artisans of the party – some of them still gathered in the forum in which the decision has been communicated – have not yet occurred and have been limited to responses – many, in a humorous tone. – on social networks like Twitter, where the words ‘COAC’ and ‘Carnaval’ have been made trending topic.

The change of dates will give rise to unique situations, such as the Cadiz Carnival may overlap with other well-known festivals in the province, such as the Jerez Fair or with religious celebrations such as Corpus Christi (on June 19). Or that the party is held at the wrong time of carnivals in other points. Although Calzadilla marks distances: “We understand that the one in Cádiz is unparalleled and that what happens here is not comparable to what happens in other localities.” In addition, the party at the gates of summer will directly determine the tourist calendar of the city, which usually scores large economic figures in February that will now move to June, a month where, as usual, tourism begins to be noticed in the capital. .

“It seems that large events such as the Seville and Jerez fairs, or Holy Week itself can be held in spring and we believe that the Cádiz Carnival can perfectly assume these new dates so that it can take place with greater security”, defends the Cadiz Councilor for Culture .

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