Carnaval in Toledo

Hello friends and family!

I realized today that I completely forgot to blog about carnaval which is a celebration around Spain and around the world to celebrate the time before the church season of lent (the time leading up to Easter). In the U.S. the main celebration of carnaval is Mardi Gras. This year carnaval fell on the weekend of March 24 through the 26th.

In Toledo there are a plethora of celebrations that occur, most of them involving parades (desfiles) and dressing up in costumes (disfraces). Friday night was one of the first days that I celebrated carnaval with my friends. A group and I made a walk to a nearby neighborhood to watch a parade and hang out.

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The sun was setting over the beautiful old city of Toledo. I was quickly reminded of how grateful I am to be here. 

The parade the first night was pretty small in comparison to the other days but it was also very enjoyable. I really loved watching the little kids dressed up like Kinder Surprise Eggs, as well as the the elaborate masked costumes.

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The next day consisted of big celebrations within the old area of Toledo. My friends and I went to watch a 3 hour long parade which was super fun. I had never seen a parade so elaborately done and as long as this one before. We decided to split some churros and chocolate afterwards to treat ourselves before returning home for the night to get ready to go out again later. All the locals bring their children dressed in costumes to the parades and then later in the night is the time for the adults and young adults to get out in their own costumes to drink and dance in the streets of Toledo (otherwise known as botellón which means getting a big bottle of alcohol and drinking it while dancing in the streets).

My host family kindly lent me (no pun intended) a wig for the night so Ariel and I dressed up as hippies.

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Ariel, my host brother Mael, host sister Pilar and I

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We met up with our friends at around 12 to walk through the streets together and enjoy the festivities. There were so many people out and the crowds were huge, it felt like the whole city had made it to the same spot to celebrate. Different parts of the city had different concerts and music playing and of course we stumbled across one area with 70’s music and hippies jamming out.

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Everyone was having a great time and enjoying the celebration together.

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Huge dance party happening right outside the cathedral. 

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My friend Griff and I

Overall it was a great few days of celebrations and I am so happy that I had the opportunity to learn more about a local celebration while studying abroad here.

Worry less and smile more. 

 

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