Cebreros Carnival is an important part of the costumbrist history from Ávila and even from Spain, and one of the most important festivities in Ávila Province. It was declared as Regional Touristic Interest Party in 2009.
The tradition and influence of this party took root many years ago in Cebreros and people continued the celebration despite prohibitions and different historical events. In the 50’s, the central Government tried to abolish the Carnival in Spain, but in Cebreros it was an impossible task. The neighbours decided to protest in front of the Mayor’s house and celebrating Carnival, but, in order to avoid problems, they dressed for mourning, with black clothes and bracelets while they got together in houses to dance and to drink wine. Children were in charge of keeping an eye and informing if the Civil Guard arrived. Even the Governor of Ávila, Vaca de Osma, had to assume that in Cebreros the Carnival was not going to be cancelled, so he decided to supress the fines and to change the name to “Winter Festivals”. About the origin of the Cebreros Carnival, there are no specific data, but it is considered that it has been celebrated for over 200 years.
The costume, basic element of the Carnival, has been modified over the years, from the esparto sack with which the face was covered in the 19th century, to the costumes with old clothes adorned with cowbells, to the traditional costume of the village made up for “manteo” and “mantón de Manila” for women and trousers, black jacket, red sash and “pirolo” hat for men. Nowadays, the costumes are more elaborated and they are wonderful pieces of sewing, handmade, with excellent materials, design and make-up.
Carnival is celebrated in family and friends groups that besides enjoying the traditional parades, they participate in the official Carrozas and Comparsas Parade on both Sundays of Carnival, the most important days of the celebration. The Provincial Parade counts with more than 2,000 participants and more than 20,000 persons who watch and enjoy it every year.
On Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, El Rondón Traditional Dance takes place. The Local Music Band plays the popular “Jota de Cebreros” and people form a circle around the Square in pairs of two, facing each other. “La Jota Cebrereña” is danced without a break for a couple of hours and its catchy rhythm is not difficult to dance, which invites everyone who wants it to join El Rondón, a peculiar tradition that has been celebrated for many years.
Cebreros Carnival is the result of the great work of the local people, who spend hours and hours of dedication for months, year after year. In the case of the troupes, they design and sew the costumes and prepare accessories, dances and choreographies. For the realisation of the floats, a real architectural work is necessary, which allows the creation of realistic works of art; they are made with all kind of materials, including electronics for a few years to now, that has allowed the movement to be introduced in some of these floats, making them a real show. It must be also add the work of making costumes and choreographies for the people who go with the float.