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Carnival Time 

Carnival, originally a Spring pagan rite later incorporated by the Church as a farewell to meat party before the Lenten Fast, has a special significance in a country with such deep outdoor festive roots as Spain. Not as famous or televised as Rio, Venice and New Orleans, Carnival time in Spain is, together with Easter and Christmas, one of its main popular festivities, celebrated nationwide with street parades, costume balls, beauty pageants and bank holidays.

As in almost every other part of the world, Las fiestas de Carnaval in Spain depend on the liturgical calender, usually taking place sometime between February 5th and March 4th and centred around the week before Ash Wednesday.On the mainland, the Andalusian city of Cádiz hosts the most popular urban Shrovetide celebrations. Year after year, thousands of Spaniards head to the Southern capital to embrace days of music, wine drinking an laugh listening to the murgas or charangas, groups of witty locals who make fun of politicians and VIP's and review the prior year's happenings.

But if there's a Spring fiesta of non-stop excesses Brazilian-style, that one is in the port of Tenerife, in the Canary Islands, where Carnival has a tropical flare of wild rhythms, elaborated costumes and half-nude dancing in the streets.

Hundreds of villages and towns all around the nation celebrate Carnival in a less flamboyant and internationalized way, according to ancient traditions in which the presence of nature and animal elements is significant, specially in the Northern region of Galicia. The Antroido of Xinzo de Limia, Verin and Laza are among the most interesting and photogenic.

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