Carnaval is a BIG thing here in Cádiz and in the weeks leading up to the main event, there’s a singing competition in the local theatre. Different groups perform satirical songs about current events, politicians, pop stars and more, with elaborate costumes and much hilarity.
There are other festivals throughout the year, such as the parades during Semana Santa, when men carry ornate floats around the town which depict the various stages of the crucifixion and resurrection. And, whilst schools in Spain only get a week off for Easter, there are plenty of other days throughout the school year which are local and national holidays.
For example, next week, we have Lunes de Carnaval, which is also sometimes known as Lunes de Resaca (Hangover Monday), giving gaditanos a chance to recover from a long weekend on the streets watching the various singing groups perform. Thursday is also a holiday for teachers and an opportunity for an extra long weekend, with Friday being Día de Andalucía – a regional holiday throughout the south – and Monday Día de la Comunidad Educativa, a day to celebrate our profession (by not working).
There are a lot of national holidays dotted throughout the year and they don’t always fall on a Monday, as bank holidays do in the UK. This means it’s not uncommon for the national holiday to fall on a Tuesday and the previous day be taken as a puente (bridge, or long weekend).
If you’re working here during the academic year, most academies follow the school calendar and will be closed at times when the schools are closed. Be aware though that as private businesses, school owners can choose whether or not to open and so you may. As a teacher, there are definite pros and cons to the number of holidays we have. On the one hand, in the autumn term there are quite a lot of holidays and so it feels as though you never really get the term started. But, I won’t deny that it’s lovely to get a day off.