At Carnival time anything goes! | Cultural Heritage. Goverment of Catalonia.


Imatge del Carnaval de Solsona (

At Carnival time anything goes!

The most iconic carnival celebrations in Catalonia
From Fat Thursday to Ash Wednesday anything goes! Merrymaking and debauchery are the order of the day during Carnival, a festival in which fancy dress and popular culture come to the fore. Have you ever taken part in one of Catalonia's most iconic Carnival festivals? We would like to mention some of them, where you could enjoy some of these celebrations.


Known as the Carnaval de Terra Endins, or inland Carnival, The Torelló Carnival attracts some 60,000 people every year. When king Rei Carnestoltes attacks the council and takes power, the mayor and the town councillors are stripped of their powers and the great party starts. One of the days most looked forward to is the Friday with its Senyoretes i Homenots ritual in which the men dress up as women and women dress up as men.

The Carnival in Sitges is considered to be one of the best Carnivals on the Iberian Peninsula. The strong points of this great pit i cuixa i lluentons, or 'breast, thigh and sequins' festival are the 'rues', or parades: the one held on Sunday is known as the Rua de la Disbauxa, or Debauchery Parade, and the one held on Tuesday is known as the Rua de l’Extermini, or Extermination Parade. All the parades of floats are launched by king Carnestoltes and ended by the Queen of the Carnival, who is elected from all those who propose themselves for the crown by means of public acclamation.

Another of the most outstanding Carnivals in Catalonia is the one held in Solsona, re-established in 1971. Here the popular disguises are replaced with robes and gowns of many colours and by the 'mad giants'. One of the most anticipated movements is on the Saturday night when the local inhabitants, who have been referred to as 'donkey killers' for many years on account of a legend, hang a cardboard donkey to the sound of the song, A Solsona bona gent (the Solsonese are good people).

The Merengada (meringue fight), the Arrivo (arrival of king Carnival), the Ball de Mantons (shawls dance), the Comparses (huge collective dance), the Xatonada (traditional Vilanova i la Geltrú dish consisting of salt cod, tuna salad and Romesco sauce dressing), King Caramel (children's sweets king)... The Carnival in Vilanova i la Geltrú includes many events and everybody is invited to take part in them. The big, and much-anticipated event, known as the Comparses, is held on the Sunday. It is when thousands of couples with Manila shawls, barretina hats and carrying bags full of goodies, cover the streets of the town with sweets. In 2010 this satirical festival was declared Heritage Festival of National Interest by the Generalitat de Catalunya (Government of Catalonia).

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