León’s Carnival festivities have an order of preference in our program, because they are considered the most crowded from all our festivities. They were restored in the middle 80’s after a prohibition that lasted several years.
Many activities take place during 6 days in a program designed to please children, teenagers, families and elder: festivals, parades, street theatre, correfuegos (literary, running after the fire), street music, folklore and popular dances, and orchestras that lead both to the city centre and the outskirts to live an intense Carnival.
The quality of the designs and the beauty of the candidates have turned the Gala de Elección de la Reina del Carnaval (Gala to Choose the Queen of the Carnival) an event that raises interest in the whole region. Well-known artists meet in the celebration and enhance it with their popularity. The Children’s Festival is another unavoidable meeting, mostly for the younger, that have a whole afternoon dedicated to their joy, with music, educative work ships, children theatre and contests in the Sports Complex.
Shrove Tuesday is the day selected to hold the Individual, Teams, Carnival Groups and Carriage Parade’s Contest. All they march through the main streets in an endless Parade, full of colour and imagination. The number of participants increases every year, and so does the quality, which makes it more difficult to the jury that has to award the best amongst all the ingenious participants. All the citizens meet in the streets to celebrate the hard work of the Carnival Groups that spend months to design and make the most creative fancy dresses one can imagine.
Finally, we have the Entierro de la Sardina (literarily, the burial of the sardine), a riotous mock funeral and cremation of an effigy fish that ends with the wake that stands from the first day of the Carnival at the Town Hall of San Marcelo. This activity started only in the last editions of the Carnival, but it has quickly installed between the favourite of the Leónese, who make from this festivities a meeting where fun never ends.