Carnaval is one of Spains most vibrant, colourful and fun winter fiestas offering a welcome relief to the winter months.

Held in most towns during February or March, this lively festival is celebrated as a lead up to Easter and especially the 40 days of Lent.

Carnaval typically involves celebrations and parades combining elements of masks, circuses and street parties. Many people dress up during Carnaval and participate in these parades, with many thousands lining the streets to watch these fantastic spectacles!

Traditionally a religious festival, Carnaval has its roots in the Christian calendar with the word carnaval supposedly coming from the Italian word carne vale, meaning farewell to meat. During the 40 days of Lent leading up to Easter, it was prohibited to eat meat and people abstained from any other type of pleasures including eating dairy products, sex and generally enjoying themselves.

So, the Carnaval celebrations were the last chance they had to indulge in every kind of excess before the 40 days of fasting, prayers and penitence