It’s that time of the year again in Barcelona! Get ready to pig out, drink, dress up and get wild during the seven days of fun leading up to Lent, a time of abstinence for Catholics. Carnival (Carnaval in Catalan) starts on February 23, Dijous Gras (Fat Thursday), with the arrival of Rei Carnestoltes, the King of No Shame, who is quite the character. He is accompanied by seven colorful jesters, each representing one of the original towns that were incorporated into what we now know as the city of Barcelona.
Food and drinks are the stars of the show (as in most Catalan traditions), and Carnival is no different. Starting with a big meal on Fat Thursday and truites (Spanish omelet) competitions held at markets throughout the city. You can visit the Santa Caterina, Vall d’Hebron, Ciutat Meridiana or Marina markets to see and taste the best omelets in town. Also on the menu, coca de llardons (lard cakes) and butifarra d’ou (egg sausages). The tasty sausages come in different varieties like mushroom, artichoke, salmon and gorgonzola. This year venders are planning to sell over 250,000 kgs (550,000 lbs) of egg sausages during the holiday.
Throughout the week children dress up in costumes for school and attend the many activities held in each neighborhood. There’s parades, concerts, dances, mask making classes and more. But, it’s not just an event for children! Adults dress up in matching group costumes for the many Carnival parties held throughout Barcelona’s bars and nightclubs. Lots of locals head to the famous Carnival party and parade in the nearby town of Sitges. This LGBTQ friendly event is named one of the top 10 Carnival events in the world and attracts over 300,000 visitors each year.
- #Wild Electric Carnival, Night Squad Carnival, Carnival with Blanca Ross and Soundays, Carnival – Thursday, February 23 to Sunday, February 26 at Opium Free with guest list before 2 am
- Carnival with Amable & Gato – Saturday, February 25 at Razzmatazz: €15 online or €17 at the door
- Carnapop 2017 with Los Niños Imantados, Ultraplayback and Puto – Friday, February 24 at Sala Apolo: €22.50 online or €25 at the door
- Craft Barcelona – Saturday, February 25 from 8:30 pm-11:30 pm: Free
- Melon Party – LGBTQ event on Saturday, February 25 at Up & Down starting at midnight: €12
The end of Carnival on Ash Wednesday, March 1, is marked by the death of the Carnival King and enterro de la sardina, the burial of the sardine, a mock funeral procession. Some people even dress up in funeral attire with women in black veils who bid farewell to the past week of debauchery.
- Arrival of the Carnival King: Thursday, February 23 at 6pm – The parade finishes at Plaça de Sant Jaume, the plaza of the city hall.
- La Taronjada: Thursday, February 23 – After the parade in Plaça de Sant Jaume.
- Carnival parade: Saturday, February 25 – Starting from Comte d’Urgell, 145
- Folk music: Saturday, February 25 – Llibertat Market, Plaza Llibertat 27