CARNIVAL: WHAT TO EXPECT DURING THE WEEK-LONG PARTY IN BARCELONA
Carnival, the big hoorah before Lent, is here!
Today, known as Dijous Gras (Fat Thursday), marks the commencement of a week-long festive affair that features a lot of traditional celebrations. We want to make sure you have the information you need to enjoy this colorful holiday in the Catalan capital!
One of the most established and high-spirited celebrations of the year begins with L’Arribo (The Arrival) parade at 18:00! It starts at the base of the Rambla de Catalunya and parks itself around 19:00 in front of the Palau de la Virreina where there will be fireworks, a taronjada (battle of oranges) and a proclamation by the Rei de Carnestoltes (Carnival King) that his reign of debauchery has begun. Afterwards, the first party of the week is thrown!
As is common during this holiday, you’ll find masked faces and colorful costumes galore. There will be street parties — each neighborhood, its neighbors and associations, organizing its own “anything goes” festivities — dancing, music, parades and a whole lot more! But, one of the most important featured aspects during the celebration is el menjar (the food)!
There are truita de patata (potato tortilla) contests, traditional Carnestoltes snacks filling up the bakeries and streets, and even a sardine is buried to mark the end of the celebration on Dimecres de Cendra (Ash Wednesday)!
WHAT TO EAT
Coques de llardons: a flat pastry made with eggs, sugar, flour, pork crackling and pine nuts
Els llardons: pork crackling
Botifarra d’ou i truita: a sausage omelette made with pork sausage, cansalada (bacon fat), eggs, salt and black pepper
Bunyols de Quaresma: doughnuts made from a flour base, fried in oil and then coated with sugar
Ranxo: a huge, traditional soup
Sardines i arengades: sardines and herring
The “Battle of the Oranges” is a carnival tradition that dates back to the 14th century in Barcelona. It used to involve, quite literally, a battle of throwing oranges. This tradition is now marked by throwing big, orange balloons and orange confetti, as well as shooting off orange fireworks. The Carnival King oversees this loud, colorful and energy-filled tradition.
There are tons of opportunities to experience Barcelona’s Carnival parades, especially on Saturday, March 2nd. Here is a list of the different rues around the city:
- “Carnavalassu” on March 2 at 18:00
- “La Ravalsotada” on March 9 at 17:00
- “La Carnavalada de la Barceloneta” on March 10 at 11:00
- March 2 at 11:00
- March 2 at 17:00
- March 2 at 17:30
- “Rua al Coll” on March 2 at 11:00, with a correfoc (fire run) and party starting at 21:00 at Plaça de Salvador Allende
- In Vila de Gràcia on March 2 at 18:00
- In Guinardó on March 2 at 11:00
- In Carmel on March 2 at 17:00
- March 2 at 17:00
- March 2 at 18:00
- March 3 at 11:00
- March 2 at 10:45
- March 2 at 17:30
- February 28 at 17:00
- March 2 at at 17:00
L’ENTERRAMENT DE LA SARDINA
The “Burial of the Sardine” is the closing event of Carnival. The sardine, a symbolic figure of the holiday, was actually once buried, but now it’s more of a symbolic burial. Preceded by a parade, or more of a satirical procession, the sardine, usually a papier mâché figure, is burned. This “burial” symbolizes the death of the past and the rebirth of a reenergized society. Along with this act, there is music, dance and hot chocolate made available for everyone in attendance, especially the schoolchildren.
For the full Carnestoltes 2019 Program, click here. You’ll find cut-out masks on its last pages that you can wear; one is a sardine mask, the other a sausage! You’re encouraged to wear them, take a photo and upload them to social media platforms using the hastags: #josocsardina or #josocbotifarra!
Enjoy the festivities!
By EMILY BENSON
Photos by ISABEL TROYA
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