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Written by carnaval   

Barcelona Carnival 2014
Photo by Carlos Lorenzo with kind permission. More Barcelona carnival photos        

Barcelona Carnaval 2014                     
Barcelona carnival 2014. The carnaval week returns to Barcelona from 27th February to 5th March 2014.  
In Catalunya the carnival is called "carnestoltes."  TWEET THIS

Barcelona Carnival Week. How Barcelona celebrates Carnival in February. What to see and programme. The Barcelona Carnival is a week long programme of many big and small events and processions that starts on Thursday 27th February 2014 with the arrival of the carnival King and finishes on Ash Wednesday 5th March 2014 when the famous carnival sardine is buried.

You can see all the major events on the carnival website which is in Catalan and Spanish. Carnival is called "carnestoltes" in Catalan. If you prefer an English overview we have also listed some of the top Barcelona Carnival events further down this page and some useful information about carnival traditions. In Barcelona the carnival is mostly for the children and families. For more grown-up street party carneval events then we can recommend Sitges, which is just south of Barcelona. Their carneval is on the same days and lots of revelling going on there.

Please note that Barcelona no longer has a central "Gran Rua" parade. From the 1980'ies and until 2011 the Barcelona carnival had a big central carnaval parade called the "Gran Rua de la Ciutat Barcelona" and also sometimes called the "Rua central." From 2012 this part of the Barcelona carnaval was discontinued. The city council of Barcelona wanted - and still want - to focus on more historical and traditional elements of Barcelona´s carnival.

The ambition and focus now is to create a Barcelona carnaval format that takes inspiration from the ancient carnavals from previous centuries dating back to the 14th century. In 2014 there will be many local and festive events and over 30
local carnaval parades in all areas of Barcelona throughout the carnavel week. For visitors we can recommend the carnival parades in the Ribera/Born area of Barcelona's old city.

To get updates on the Barcelona carnaval visit the Barcelona carnaval website or search on Twitter using the hashtag #carnavalbcn. To see extravagant and colourful carnaval parades in 2014, we can also recommend a visit to Sitges, which is a popular resort town just south of Barcelona,  where the Sitges Carnival is celebrated on the same days as Barcelona. The Sitges carnaval is famous for its flamboyant parades, both thanks to a fantastic effort by the locals and also to the vibrant and enthusiatic gay community in Sitges.

Carnival Parties Barcelona


All of the Barcelona's Top clubs have Carnival parties on Saturday 1st March 2014

>   PDF Barcelona Carnaval programme 2014
>   Barcelona party and fancy dress costume shops

2014 Barcelona Carnaval Parades

Dijous Gras -  Fat Thursday - Jueves Ladero

Thursday 27th February 2014 is Fat Thursday and the first day of the carnival.
Fat Thursday  called “Dijous Gras” in Catalan and  “Jueves Ladero” in Spanish is similar to Shrove Tuesday in English. The general theme of a carnival is to eat, drink, dance and generally have a huge party and it starts on Fat Thursday, because this is the day when you start to stuff yourself during carnaval week in preparation for the fasting period of Lent, which begins after the carneval officially ends. The markets of Barcelona celebrate Fat Thursday with many food events and competitions all over Barcelona.  The main character of the Spanish carnevals is the King Carnival - called “Rei Carnestoltes" in Catalan and "Rey Carnaval" in Spanish. The King Carnaval ceremony and parade opens the carnaval week in Barcelona. The symbolic role of the Carnival King is to carry all the sins of power, and take responsibility for all the bad things that occurred throughout the year. On the last day of Carnival, the carnival king’s last will and testament is read out in public. Then he is condemned and burnt, which is signal to have a huge feast. The sad death of the King marks the end of the carnival with funeral corteges complete with grieving widows in black and other events in his honour all over the city.

L'Arribo - The arrival of King Carnaval - Rei Carnestoltes.
Thursday 27 February, from 18 pm to 19.30 pm. The first parades of the carnival are to celebrate the arrival of the King Carnival. You can see the Rei Carnestoltes in processions in many local "barrios" neighbourhoods usually starting from "mercat" food markets in Barcelona including the mercat Barceloneta, the mercat Sagrada Família, and the mercat Santa Caterina. For visitors we recommend the Rei Carnestoltes procession in old city centre Ribera/Born area which starts from the 
Santa Caterina market at 6pm then head down streets Giralt el Pellicer, Carders, Montcada to finish on the Passeig del Born at the Born Cultural centre with a Masked Ball at 7.30pm.

La Cercavila del Rei Carnestoltes parades

There are around 30 local Cavalcada del Rei Carnestoltes processions in many areas of Barcelona. See the PDF programme of carnaval processions in Barcelona on Saturday 1st March 2014. For visitors to Barcelona we recommend the processions below in Born and Gothic areas of Barcelona.


La Cercavila del Rei Carnestoltes
Saturday 1st March 2014.
Time: 17:45 - 5.45pm
Starts: > Santa Caterina market in Ribera/Born area
Route:  Mercat de Santa Caterina, then Avinguda de Francesc Cambó, Via Laietana, Argenteria, Plaça de Santa Maria, Carrer de Santa Maria, Fossar de les Moreres, Passeig del Born, Carrer del Rec, Carrer de la Fusina to finish at Plaça Comercial.

View Cercavila del Rei Carnestoltes in a larger map

Carnavalassu Gran
Saturday 1st March 2014.
Time: 18.30 - 6.30pm
Starts: > Plaça de la Mercè in Gothic area.
Route: Plaça de la Mercè then down streets Ample, Regomir, Ciutat, Plaza Sant Jaume, streets Jaume I, Via Laietana, Princesa, Allada Vermell, Carders, Jaume Giralt i Pou de la Figuera to finish at Pl. Pou de la Figuera

La Taronjada procession
Sunday 2nd March 2014  
Time: 17:00 to 20:00 - 5pm to 8pm
Starts on: Plaça Comercial in front of Born Cultural Centre 
in Born area of Barcelona
La Taronjada. Inspired by the original battle of orange throwing, La Taronjada is now part of the King Carnival parade and is a colour battle on the Passeig de Picasso street between streets of de Ribera and Fusina, where orange balloons and confetti will do battle.


More Barcelona carnaval activities 
Most of the activities during the Barcelona Carnaval are in the barrios (neighbourhoods) of Barcelona.  Each barrio (neighbourhood) organizes their own parades and festivities, so keep your eyes open for posters advertising carnaval events in your area or visit the carnival website for a full list of activities and programme. The activities are usually centred around the civic centres and the food markets in each district of Barcelona. Carneval activities in Barcelona usually include parades, lots of competitions for the kids, like fancy dress competitions and food and cooking competitions with prizes for everyone.
Among the activities you will always find some that celebrate the traditions of eating eggs, usually in the form of tortilla (omelette) cooking and tasting competitions. And don't miss the “botifarrada,” where everyone eats botifarra (Catalan sausage) to their hearts content. Apart from tortillas and botifarra, sardines are the other main ingredient in Catalan carnival tradition and there are many sardine tasting events. The Barcelona market organization "Mercats de Barcelona," award the best decorated stalls and shops in each food market the traditional and much coveted Golden Pepper award called "Pebrot d'Or" – “Pimiento de Oro.”

Many Barcelona nightclubs have carnival parties during the carnival week. Find top Barcelona clubs and lounges here. Also on certain days of the carnival there are open days at selected civic buildings and museums.

Barcelona Carnaval finale
“Enterrament de la sardine” – Burying the Sardine.
The Barcelona Carnival ends on Ash Wednesday, “el Miércoles de Ceniza." Wednesday 5th February 2014. The ending is celebrated with the traditional the “Enterrament de la Sardina,” which means “burying the sardine”, which marks the end of the carnival period. This takes place in various districts of Barcelona. The main "Enterro de la sardina" will be at 11:00 on Wednesday 5th March in the Parc de la Ciutadella

>  Barcelona Carneval website.
Website BCN markets
Civic centres Barcelona - local carnaval activities
Sitges Carnaval website
>  Highlights Sitges Carnival

Origins of Carnival Name

The origin of the name "carnival" is disputed and there are various explanations. The most popular one is that the word comes from Italian “carne levare” which in turn is derived from the Latin words “caro” meaning flesh or meat, and “vale” meaning goodbye or farewell.  So "Carnival" means literally "Goodbye to meat" which makes sense as the Carvival falls before Lent which is a 40 day and night period of fasting and in olden days Catholics were forbidden to eat meat during Lent. Lent starts on Ash Wednesday, “el Miércoles de Ceniza” and lasts 40 days. This is a Christian tradition of preparing for Easter by giving the soul a good spring cleaning before Easter is celebrated. The Catalans particularly relish celebrating carnaval -  not least because it was forbidden to celebrate carnival in Barcelona between 1936 and 1980 under the rule of dictator Franco.

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