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Carnival is here, which means Barcelona is ready to party!

This Thursday, Dijous Gras (Fat Thursday), February 20, marks the beginning of a non-stop week of festivities. Said to cure pain and stress, Carnaval is full of events you won’t want to miss, so check out this year’s program so you can take part in Barcelona’s most colorful holiday!



One of Barcelona’s oldest and most festive celebrations of the year begins with L’Arribo (The Arrival) parade on Thursday, February 20, at Plaça Reial at 18:00! From the base of Rambla de Catalunya, the Seven Ambassadors of Carnival will jump, dance and sing their way up to Palau de la Virreina, arriving at about 18:45, 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!



Masked faces, colorful costumes and joyful cheering and noise will fill Barcelona’s streets. There will be street parties all over the city— each neighborhood, its neighbors and associations, organized its own “anything goes” festivities —dancing, music, parades and more! Above all else, though, is el menjar (the food)!

There are truita de patata (potato tortilla) contests, traditional Carnestoltes snacks taking over bakeries and streets, and even a sardine is buried to mark the end of the celebration on Dimecres de Cendra (Ash Wednesday)!

Here is a list of the traditional Carnaval dishes:

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 (don’t miss your chance to eat these!)

Ranxo: a huge, traditional soup made with ingredients donated by neighbors

Sardines i arengades: sardines and herring



The “Battle of the Oranges” is a carnival tradition that dates back to 1333 in Barcelona when the Consell de Cent (Council of a Hundred) outlawed the throwing of oranges. The taronjada 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.

The taronjada will take place at Palau de la Virreina on Thursday, February 20, at about 18:45. Don’t miss it!



Parades, parades and more parades! Barcelona will not be lacking in opportunities to experience its Carnival parades. The busiest day will be on Saturday, February 22nd. Here is a list of the rues around the city:

Ciutat Vella:

Carnavalassu” on February 22 at 18:30, “La Ravalsotada” on February 29 at 16:30 and “La Carnavalada de la Barceloneta” on March 1 at 11:00


Rua de Carnestoltes a la Dreta de l’Eixample” on February 21 at 17:45, “Rua de Carnestoltes de l’Esquerra de l’Eixample” on February 22 at 17:00 and “Rua de Carnestoltes a Fort Pienc” on February 22 at 17:15


Desfilada Satírica i Guerra de confetti” on February 22 at 19:00, “Rua de Carnaval al Camp d’en Grassot i Gràcia Nova” on February 22 at 17:00 and “Rua de Carnestoltes a la Vila de Gràcia” on February 22 at 17:30


Rua de Carnestoltes del Guinardó” on February 22 at 11:00, “Rua de Carnaval al Carmel” on February 22 at 17:15, “Gran Rua de Carnaval del Cor d’Horta” on February 22 at 18:15, “Rua de Carnaval al barri de la Teixonera” on February 22 at 11:00 and “Rua de Carnestoltes de Montbau” on February 23 at 11:00

Les Corts:

Gran Rua de Carnaval a Les Corts” on February 22 at 17:00

Nou Barris:

Rua de Carnestoltes del Turó de la Peira” on February 21 at 17:30, “Rua de Carnestoltes a la Zona Nord” on February 21 at 17:00, “Rua de Carnestoltes al barri de Trinitat Nova” on February 22 at 17:30, “Rua de Carnestoltes a Roquetes” on February 22 at 17:00, “Rua de Carnestoltes al barri de Porta” on February 22 at 18:00 and “Gran Rua de Carnestoltes a Nou Barris” on February 22 at 18:00

Sant Andreu:

Rua de Carnestoltes a Baró de Viver” on February 21 at 15:15, “Rua de Carnestoltes al barri de Congrés-Indians” on February 22 at 11:30, “Rua de Carnestoltes al barri del Bon Pastor” on February 22 at 16:00, “Rua de Carnestoltes al barri de la Sagrera” on February 22 at 16:45, “Rua de Carnestoltes al barri de Trinitat Vella” on February 22 at 18:00 and “16a Rua de Carnestoltes del barri de Sant Andreu” on February 23 at 11:30

Sant Martí:

Rua de Carnestoltes de l’Ateneu Popular Octubre” on February 21 at 21:00, “Rua de Carnaval del barri del Besòs i el Maresme” on February 22 at 17:00, “Rua de Carnaval al Poblenou” on February 22 at 17:00 and “Gran Rua de Carnaval al Clot – Camp de l’Arpa” on February 22 at 16:30


Rua de Carnestoltes al Poble-sec” on February 22 at 11:00, “Gran Rua de Carnaval de Sants” on February 22 at 17:30 and “Rua de Carnaval de la Marina” on February 22 at 18:00

Sarrià-Sant Gervasi:

Rua de Carnestoltes i festa de disfresses” on February 20 at 17:00



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. There are burials in several of Barcelona’s districts and all take place on February 26. The two biggest burials are in Ciutat Vella (at Barceloneta beach at 17:30 and at Av. de Francesc Cambó at 18:00).


There are no holidays until Holy Week in April, so grab a costume and get out and enjoy the fun while it lasts!




Check out @carrersbcn‘s photos on Instagram!

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