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Barcelona carnival 2016 E-mail
Written by carnaval   

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

Barcelona Carnaval 2016                     

Barcelona carnival 2016 The carnaval week returns to Barcelona from Thursday 4th February 2016 to Wednesday 10th February 2016.  
In Catalunya the carnival is called "carnestoltes."  

2016 Barcelona Carnival week. Barcelona Carnival. What to see at the carnaval. The Barcelona Carnival is a week long programme of some big and small events and processions that starts on Thursday 4th February 2016 with the arrival of the carnival King and finishes on Wednesday 10th February 2016 Ash Wednesday when the famous carnival sardine is buried. 

Open the Barcelona Carnival 2016 programme or find all the major events on the Barcelona 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. For adult street party carnival events then we can recommend Sitges, which is just south of Barcelona. The Sitges carnaval usually takes place around the same time and has much more of a street party theme.

Please note that Barcelona no longer has a central "Gran Rua" parade. From the 80'ies and up until 2011 the Barcelona carnival did have a big central carnaval parade called the "Gran Rua de la Ciutat Barcelona" and also called the "Rua central." Since 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 2016 there will be around 100 local and festive events and over 30 local carnaval parades in all areas of Barcelona throughout the carnaval week. The biggest parades are on Saturday 6th February 2016

To see extravagant and colourful carnaval parades in 2016, as mentioned then we can also recommend a visit to Sitges, which is a popular seaside 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 annual effort by Sitges residents and the vibrant and enthusiatic gay community of Sitges. 

To get news on the Barcelona carnaval visit the Barcelona carnaval website or search on Twitter using the hashtag #carnavalbcn. 

Barcelona party /fancy dress costume shops

Carnaval highlights & parades

Dijous Gras -  Fat Thursday - Jueves Ladero

Thursday 4th February 2016 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 4th 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.


Las ruas de carnaval - carnival parades

Saturday 6th February 2016. There are around 30 local Cavalcada del Rei Carnestoltes processions in many areas of Barcelona. For visitors we recommend two processions in the Born and Gothic areas of Barcelona.Find a list of local Barcelona carnival paradeshere or open the2016 Barcelona carnival programme

La Taronjada - Orange fest
Date: Sunday 7th February 2016 
Time: 16:30 to 20:00 - 5pm to 8pm
Starts on: Plaça Comercial in front of Born Cultural Centre 
This is the one of the big events of the Barcelona carnival. La Taronjada is one of the oldest Carnival traditions inspired by the original battle of orange throwing. In the modern La Taronjada is only a battle of colour with orange balloons and confetti doing battle. This event starts and ends with a ball on Pl. Comercial in the Born area of Barcelona and between dances you can enjoy the grand parade for Queen Belluga and her seven ambassadors. When their entourage arrives at the square, the orange battle starts.

La Taronjada Barcelona Carnival

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.”  The Barcelona Carnival ends on Ash Wednesday, “el Miércoles de Ceniza." 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 10th February in the Parc de la Ciutadella

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

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