Barcelona’s Carnival

Barcelona’s Carnival

Feb 23rd to March 1st


Between the 16th and early 17th centuries, Barcelona’s carnival was one of the biggest in all of Europe- known more for its wild reputation than for its roots in tradition. However, during the reign of Franco the Spanish dictator who ruled for 39 years from 4 December 1892 – 20 November 1975 it was forbidden and disappeared.

When the city started to celebrate the carnival again, it borrowed sections from the brazilian carnival specifically the sequinned covered mass of people, the extortionate amount of feathers and let’s not forget the beautiful leggy people! Strange to think that Brazil initially imported the carnival from Barcelona rather than us importing it from them. 

Since then about six years ago Barcelona decided to recreate the traditional carnival, with dancing, fantastic costumes and an enormous amount of satire and they love to encourage everyone to get involved. The carnival begins in Spain with “Dirty Thursday”, in Barcelona this day is called Jueves Ladero – Greasy Thursday, or Dijous Gras in Catalan. This day is dedicated to the “Greasy” and “Vice” and celebrated with many festivals in which copious amounts of food and drink is enjoyed.

The weekend belongs to the Carnival Guilds. The popular Big Parade Gran Rua no longer exist. However, there are many local events and local carnival parades all over Barcelona throughout the carnival weekend. We recommend the carnival parades in the Ribera/Born area of Barcelona. The highlight being the “La Taronjada” on Sunday – a colourful battle of orange balloons and confetti at the end of a parade in the Ribera/Born district.

On Ash Wednesday the carnival comes to an end with the funeral of the sardine. The King of Carnival dies and is buried in his grave in a funeral cortège, accompanied by his widow and companions – the colourful costumes are appropriately exchanged to black mourning clothes. It is traditional to eat fish on this day.

Barcelona Carnival

Thanks for reading Don-Spanish’s Barcelona’s carnival blog post and come back for more next week.