Barcelona Council has made some changes to the programme for the city's Carnival celebration, with one aim being to revive traditional activities from the 15th and 16th centuries.
This year, Barcelona is hoping for increased participation in its Carnival festivities and has introduced more events across the city designed to involve residents, associations, schools and markets in all Barcelona’s districts. Here you can find a selective list of what's on - more details are available at the council's website here.
Thursday February 16th, 2012
- Dijous Gras (Fat Thursday): Market vendors from around Barcelona will come together at Santa Caterina Market. The event will include the presentation of the carnival's seven ambassadors and other main carnival features.
- The arrival of the Carnival King, 'Carnestoltes': Ambassadors from imaginary nations will parade behind the Carnival King on Passeig del Born. Here, the king will officially proclaim his reign of the carnival empire.
- The first Masquerade Ball: Estació de França (tbc), 5.30-9 pm
Saturday February 18th
- Carnival parades: Instead of a central rua, several processions in different neighbourhoods will take place.
Sunday February 19th
- The main carnival event. This will take place in La Ribera neighbourhood. The event will be divided into three parts: the masquerade balls, the batalla (battle), or taronjada (orange fight), which will proceed down to Estació de França and, finally, the Gran Sarau (big dance). The kids' sarau starts at 5pm and the larger masquerade ball starts at 6.30pm. The typical carnival dances and masked balls will take place in the patio of the Convent de Sant Agustí, on the Passeig del Born and in the concourse of the train station.
Wednesday February 22nd
- Enterrament de la sardina (Burial of the sardine): This traditional carnival activity will take place in Parc de la Ciutadella and will be accompanied by a series of activities for children.
Other activities: Amongst the other events taking place this year are: a costume competition and a carnival auca (a series of typical illustrations accompanied by a short text recounting a story). Traditional activtities include cooking and tasting competitions; truites (omlettes), botifarra (Catalan sausage) and sardines! The best decorated stalls and shops in each market will win the much coveted award called 'Pebrot d'Or' (Golden Pepper).
Other places to celebrate Carnival around Catalunya:
In the vibrant gay capital of Catalunya, there will be the popular parade full of eccentricites. Expect feathers, fun and frolics, as the King of Carnival moves to Sitges. On Friday 17th and Saturday 18th, His Majesty Carnestoltes, the Queen and their entourage will visit the town’s schools and institutions. The Rua de la Disbauxa (Debauchery Parade) takes place on Sunday 19th, a large procession with over 3,000 dressed-up participants. On Tuesday 22nd, there’s the Rua de l'Extermini (Extermination Parade) with the same route and a greater number of visitors who come to enjoy this festival, many heading down from Barcelona on the train. The Funeral of Carnestoltes will take place on Wednesday 23rd, a large procession in which the Carnival King is killed, symbolising the end to the fun. This is a particularly lavish spectacle, where glamorous widows and drag queens dressed in black come to mourn the death of the party.
Tarragona is renowned for having a more traditional carnival. Between Tuesday 14th and Tuesday 21st, rituals include the building of a large barrel that is placed at the centre of the main square in the city. The carnival is officially over when the barrel is filled with effigies of the King and Queen of the Festival and then set alight.
VILANOVA I LA GELTRÚ
Vilanova i la Geltrú is renowned for being one of the only areas where Franco's ban on Carnival was defied. For this reason, the small town is a popular destination for the annual celebrations. The Carnival is most famous for its sweet throwing war! On Sunday 19th, children (and some brave adults) take to the streets armed with sweets and meringues and enjoy a large street fight.
Up in the north of the province of Barcelona (Osona), Torelló may be a small town, but it’s known as for its exciting costumes and air of mischief during carnival season. The biggest event takes place on the night of 16th February. Town council website