The Season to Drag...

One of the many monstrous floats in Carnival, Madrid

It is carnival season again in Spain! The streets are flooded with decorated floats, bands, and fabulously-costumed Señores and Señoras of all ages. Every town has their own version of carnivals but what in Andalucia, CHIRIGOTAS-- a comedic choir accompanied by guitar, caja( drum box -used as percussion instrument ) and bombo--- is always the highlight of the show with of course, the election of the Reina del Carnaval (Carnival Queen). They sing satirical melodies mocking people, places, and just anything that they fancy bashing.Contestant in the ¨mejor coro del mundo¨ (best choir in the world), carnaval de Cadiz

Although some say that this festivity is religious, it has thrived into a wild excuse to gather and party on the streets thus, it was banned in the Franco Administration for 40 years. It is being held a week before the Ash Wednesday but even that is optional. Whatever the real reason is, I don´t care. If you care, ask WIKIPEDIA , not me. For me, the Carnival is the Spanish version of Valentines, in the massive commercialism conspiracy theory since it is held on a month when there is no significant reason to celebrate (and to spend) so they had to make their own. Also, it is the season to be happy, merry and gay; and the best excuse to dress up in DRAG. :)
the queen of the drag carnival in Madrid

Anyway, enough of the boring history. Let me tell you about MY history of the carnival. In my first year here in Spain, I went to a Carnival in a town called Torre Del Mar with José, a Venezuelan guy a I was dating back then. I guess it was magnificent! The first time I saw the whole, and I mean, the WHOLE town dressed up in costume , parading on the streets chanting. After the parade, there was the giving of prizes for the best act, best costumes...etc. It was fantastic but It was also the last day I saw José because he caught me toro-ing the cute, green eyed, 18 year old guy dressed as a Torero. Well, too bad.

The Carnival of Tenerife--the largest of the seven Canary Islands in Spain, is said to be the best Carnival in the world next to that of Rio De Janeiro´s. This year, the celebration was in danger since the neighbourhood filed for court order to stop it due to the NOISE. Hello! the carnival was going on forever and they JUST heard it? C´mon. So, everyone went out to the streets and protested. In the end, the case was dismissed since carnival is a tradition and headaches caused by massive noise is ALLOWED during this season.
carnival dancers
Anyway, the show went on and although there was a little scandal about the judging of this year´s Reina del Carnaval de Tenerife, this woman won:

Her name is Elizabeth Garcia Garcia. Doesn´t she look like a drag queen herself? I´m sure she was in the wrong reina contest but oh, well. At least she won.

Caribbean inspired carnival float

In my country, the Philippines, we do have a lot of festivities like these but mostly of religious nature and NO, NO nudity on the streets. Except of course during GAY PRIDE where you can choose from the best of Asian male flesh scattered on the streets of Malate--the gayest city of Manila. (ahhh...those were the days and I miss it)

In my grade school days, I had the chance to experience these kinds of thing. You parading on a float, dressing up in glittery costumes (maybe that was the reason why I am gay!??. Could it be?) and wearing a crown. It was our school´s search for King and Queen. However, it was more of a fund raising event for the construction of the school´s washroom, gates, I don´t really remember anymore. First counting of ballot, I was first. Last counting of votes, I was in third place. Why? Because my mom got half the money raised for me!!! hahaha.

She said, "you don´t need to win honey, you look like royalty already anyway".

Ahh, mothers. Sometimes they have their cheeky sides too.

True to the words of the great Celia Cruz...

Hay por que llorar
que la vida es un carnaval
y es mas bello vivir cantando
que la vida es un carnaval
y la penas se van cantando

why cry
life is but a carnival
and it is more beautiful to live singing
life is but a carnival
and the pains will go away singing

Life is Indeed a Carnival and I´m getting my feather boa now!