In Barcelona, Carnival is the time to celebrate the good things in life before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. Throughout the world, Lent is the period of forty days leading up to Easter, in which Christians abstain from consuming certain rich foods. The idea behind Carnival is to have one last blowout party. People dress up in costumes as a way to disguise themselves and take on new persona. The typical disguises and wizards makes this carnival truly worth seeing. There will be around 100 local and festive events and over 30 parades throughout Barcelona starting Thursday the 8th!
In Catalan, carnival is called “carnestoltes.” The week of the celebrations begins with ‘Fat Thursday’ also known as Jueves Ladero. The markets of Barcelona host many food events and competitions in celebration of ‘Fat Thursday.’ This year in the Barri de Ribera neighborhood, the celebrations will kick off with arrival of the king. The Carnival King is supposed to carry all the sins of power and take responsibility for all the bad things that have happened over the course of the year. On the last day of the Carnival on March 1st, the king is killed after his last will and testament is read out loud. His death signals the start of huge feast and marks the end of the carnival. People exchange their colorful costumes for black mourning clothes.
It is important to note that most of the activities during carnival are held in the barrios. Each barrio organizes their own festivities. You can expect to see parades, competitions for kids, pageant like competitions, and cooking contests throughout the week. Don’t miss out on taking part in the many sardine tasting event it is an important carnival tradition! Ultimately, the goal of this week is to eat, drink, dance, and party.
- The first parades celebrate the arrival of the King. The procession begins from Palau de la Virreina on La Rambla at 5:45pm and ends at Plaça de Sant Jaume. You can enjoy La Taronjada, one of the oldest carnival traditions. It is a battle of color with confetti and orange balloons.
- International Thursday will be hosting a Masquerade party at Shoko! Get on the guest list!
- Check out some of the 30 local Cavalcada del Rei Carnestoltes parades in all districts in Barcelona.
- There is also the Eastern Dance’ Gala at the Villa Hispanoárabe and a free costume party Craft Barcelona in El Gótic Barrio, but the times aren’t available yet.
- This day is known as Shrove Monday and it the Monday before Ash Wednesday.
- This is the day the Sitges hosts their official Carnival celebrations!! Want to go? Join Stoke Travel & Citylife on a hilariously fun day trip to the party!
- This day is Ash Wednesday and is celebrated with the traditional “Enterrament de la Sardina,’ which means burying the sardine to mark the ending of carnival.