Águilas Carnival, Spain

Águilas Carnival is the biggest in the Murcia Region

Águilas is certainly the most famous carnival in the region, as well as the largest. It is renowned for flamboyant costumes, choreographed dance troupes and glitz.

The parades are the biggest, longest and three of them include visiting peñas from other parts of the region & Spain.

We caught the end of the carnival last year, so want to make the most of it this year. To enjoy it fully, I wanted to understand the history behind it and what happens at each stage of the two weeks between February & March.

El Carnaval de Aguilas es el mas grande en la región de Murcia.

Águilas is certainly the most famous carnival in the region, as well as the largest. It is renowned for flamboyant costumes, choreographed dance troupes and glitz.

En Aguilas tiene lugar el mas famoso Carnaval de la región. Es famoso por sus impresionantes disfraces, coreografías y glamour.  Los desfiles duran varias horas y en tres de ellos, desfilan peñas the otras ciudades de la región.


El año pasado solo pudimos ver el ultimo desfile, por lo cual nos gustaría , este año asistir a  todas las actividades que se realizan durante las dos semanas que dura la fiesta. Porque estamos interesados en conocer la historia del Carnaval y todo sobre sus personajes.

What Happens?

The main processions during 2017 are on 26th & 28th February and 3rd & 4th March.

The parades last 2-4 hours each and seats are sold in specially constructed stands which line the streets (tickets can be bought on the street). There are also plenty of places to stand (but it does get tiring) & Spanish veterans bring their own chairs and blankets.

There are plenty of places to buy food and drink including a famous ‘punch’ which I warn you, is pretty strong!

As well as the actual parades there are lots of other activities involved in the carnival itself, as well as additional events in the town during the period.


Held every year for 2 weeks, it encompasses many large street processions, events, theater, music & much more, taking place over the 2 week period.

La programación para este año es la siguiente:

El desfile principal es 26 de Febrero 2017. Los siguientes serán 28 de Febrero, 3, 4 de Marzo.

Los desfiles tienen una duración de 4-5 horas. Los palcos para disfrutar del espectáculo se sitúan a ambos lados de las calles. Los tickets para los asientos se venden en la propia calle ese día. Hay estratégicos lugares en los cuales se puede ver el desfile de pie, pero es muy cansado. Los aficionados a la fiesta llevan sus sillas, mantas, comida y bebida.

Hay muchos lugares para comprar comida y bebida. Hay una bebida típica solo para estos días. Se llama Cuerva, pero  tengo que advertirte que es bastante fuerte. Contiene unamezcla de licores y fruta.

Además de los desfiles hay otras actividades que se realizan en la ciudad en estos días.

We were told it was amazing, but I didn’t realise just how fantastic it would be! Catch it in 2017 if you can…

Te estamos contando lo fantástica que es esta fiesta, aunque nosotros no la hemos disfrutado en su totalidad. Ven este año. No te lo pierdas!!

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Para los detalles de cada uno de los personajes en espaňol ver:


La Musa

This character represents the festive spirit of the carnival, the ingenuity of the people in their last days of fun before the arrival of Lent, the fantasy and humor of the arrival of Carnival dates. She is known as the ‘Queen of Carnival’, and is responsible for putting a touch of magic and brightness to the streets of Aguilas throughout the carnival.

La Mussona

The descent of the Mussona from the castle & la cueva (a hissing spitting beast wearing a costume created from natural materials) It is released from the Esplanada of the Castle along with its handler. It makes its way down to the Plaza de Espana where officially the Carnival then begins. The Mussona is a figure which represents the dual nature of man, being somewhat wild & man (the battle of order and chaos).

This character represents the old carnivals of the city of Águilas, when the inhabitants of this coastal town scarcely had few resources to be able to spend a week of fun.

Of four characters it is the only one that can be represented, both by a woman and a man.

The ‘handler’ of the Mussona is the musician-tamer. This figure represents humanity and the process of moving from the savage state to the civilized state through control and music. During the performance of this character on Thursday, the tamer plays the role of guiding the beast from the dungeons of the Castle of ‘San Juan de las Águilas’ to the Plaza de España where thousands of people look forward to the arrival of this character.

Doña Cuaresma
Doña Cuaresma represents the opposite of La Musa or the party. It is abstinence, modesty and seriousness.
The Saturday before the parades Doña Cuaresma is defeated in a dialectic battle by Don Carnal. Dona Cuaresma grants a week of truce in which the Carnival will be celebrated.

Don Carnal
He is the reincarnation of the Janus God. He is the character who triumphs over Doña Cuaresma.
He gets a week of partying, but he also knows that his reign is temporary. On the Sábado de Piñata he is finally defeated by Doña Cuaresma.In Águilas that defeat is played out on the Playa Colonial.

The performance is represented by burning an effigy in the middle of a bonfire symbolizing the body of Don Carnal while throwing thousands of fireworks. This act symbolizes the defeat of Don Carnal to Doña Cuaresma, although this victory is also not definitive, as the following year the character of Don Carnal returns to give the people of Aguilas another week of fun, joy, partying and carnival.

Diary for 2017

Wednesday 22nd Feb

  • 21.00 Children’s drawing & writing competition, run by local schools (Casa Cultural Fanscisco Rabal)

Thursday 23rd Feb

  • 09.30 Children’s parades in the schools
  • 22.30 XIX Suelta de Mussona

Friday 24th Feb

  • 20.15 In the Plaza de España there is a traditional ceremony where the main characters of the carnival are weighed and their weight in products are donated to local good causes.
  • 20.00 The children’s Mussona leaves the Colegío Las Lomas & heads for the Plaza de España
  • 21.30 Plaza de España – welcome speeches for the Children’s carnival followed by the Battle of eggshells (Cascarones)

Saturday 25th Feb

  • 20.00 Plaza de España. Opening speeches & carnival begins. Battle of eggs for adults.

Sunday 26th Feb

  • 18.00 First Grand Parade – Avenida Juan Carlos I & Calle Rey Carlos III

Monday 27th Feb

  • 24.00 Carnaval de Noche in the Plaza de España

Tuesday 28th Feb

  • 18.00 Second Grand Parade

Friday 3rd March

  • 18.00 Third Parade XXII ‘Concurson Nacional de Comparsas Foráneas’. Peñas from other areas are invited to take part (non from Aguilas) & a competition.

Saturday 4th March

  • 18.00 Fourth & last Grand Parade of carriages & floats, including all of the Águilas peñas – Avenida Juan Carlos I y Calle Rey Carlos III
  • Don Carnal is seized & taken to La Colonia beach where he is executed in grand style with a bonfire. His effigy is followed by a large display of fireworks.

Friday 10th March

  • 22.00 National Drag Queen competition in the Auditorio Infanta Elena

Saturday 11th March

  • 22.00 Second National Chirigotas competition in the Auditorio Infanta Elena











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