Carnival in Barcelona– Carnestoltes in Catalan – is a very fun time in the city. Children and grown ups dress up with masks, sequins, wigs, dance to the rhythm of the music and take part in parades.

Carnival is a religious celebration that takes place exactly 40 days before Easter. The last day of Carnival is Ash Wednesday – when the famous burial of the sardine takes place – and it’s the last chance to enjoy eating and having fun. From that day, Christians start the Lent, a period of sacrifices that include fasting and abstinence from their vices.


The burial of the sardine parodies a funeral procession and is the culmination of Carnival, burning this symbolic fish that represents sins and wildness.



In Catalonia, it’s an ingrained tradition eating an egg sausage called botifarra d’ou on Fat Thursday. Christians used to take advantage of the days before the Lent to eat fats and pork with no moderation.

Main characters of the Carnival

The Carnival King carries all the sins and is responsible of all the bad things that happened during that year. The last day of this celebration, his testament and will is read in public and he is condemned and burnt. He allows citizens to do whatever they want before the prohibition day, when Lent starts.


Belluga is the queen of nutters and nerds. She defends a world of excess, pleasure, alcohol, binges, sex, transgression and debauchery… She wants the end of decency.


A little bit of History


The first time Carnival was celebrated in Barcelona was in 1333. The King and Queen Belluga were protagonists of a satire that made fun of the monarchy and the corruption that took place at the time. They dressed up with ostentatious costumes and hats with windmills.

During the 19th century, the Carnival became very famous thanks to a spirited businessman who established The Born Society, an organization dedicated to the Carnival festivities.

During the Spanish Civil War and Franco’s dictatorship, Carnival was completely prohibited.

Carnival in Barcelona these days

Barcelona’s Carnival is mostly for children. Year ago, there was a huge parade – La Gran Rua – similar to the Brazilian ones, however the city council decided in 2012 to discontinue it and to celebrate a more traditional and historical Carnival. If you are looking for a more crazy-party Carnival you have to go to Sitges. This little village, 30 minutes away from Barcelona, is a street party theme for adults. This Carnival has over 100 years of history. It’s all about color, music and rhythm. There is so much people that it’s practically impossible to walk on the street. The children’s parades take place in the afternoon while the adult parades are at night.

During the most popular night parade, more than 200K people visit the village so be ready for a very crowded celebration.


As you can see, Carnival is the traditional Spanish ”Halloween”. How would you dress up if you were going to go out in Sitges? Here are some ideas!