Carnival is one of the brightest, most vibrant celebrations to hit the picturesque town of Sitges near Barcelona every year, and 2018 will be no exception! The festival will take place from February 8th – February 14th, and if you’re lucky enough to be visiting the Catalan capital during this period, then we suggest you head on down to the usually quiet seaside village of Sitges, located just 40 minutes outside Barcelona. Here you’ll find a week-long fiesta boasting wild parties, colorful parades and delectable delicacies, as well as live music, dancing and some traditional celebrations.
Read on to find out why the Sitges Carnival 2018 is one event not to be missed…
WHERE: Sitges, 35km south of Barcelona.
HOW TO GET THERE: Trains departing from Barcelona Sants to Sitges.
Not to be missed:
The festivities kick off with an enormous parade that takes place on Thursday the 8th of February. It marks the arrival of the carnival King and Queen and begins at around 7.30PM. The route takes the procession from La Fragata and from there the parade will head towards Passeig de la Ribera, Sant Pau, C. Paralladas and Cap de la Vila. The next big event in the calendar is Saturday the 10th of February. Here the famous annual Sitges bed race takes place. Teams of up to 5 people are challenged to see who has the fastest bed on wheels! This event begins at 12:00 PM by the Casino Prado Suburenc. The final show of the weekend, ‘ The Parade of Debauchery’ starts a little later at 7:30 PM on the Sunday . Expect amazing music and colorful costumes .If however you fancy something more suitable for the whole family however you can catch the Children’s Parade at 12:00pm.
During the following week you can expect the madness to continue with the ‘The Parade of Extermination’ at 9:00pm on Passeig de la Ribera on Tuesday the 13th of February. You can expect more cool costumes and dancing with colorful floats! Finally on Ash Wednesday ‘The Farewell of the King’ commences at 7:30pm at Plaça Ajuntament, while the festival officially wraps up with the ‘Burial of the Sardine’ taking place at 8:30pm on Passeig de la Ribera. The tradition goes that the ‘King of Carnestoltes’, who is the ‘Carnival King’ is present at the carnival where he presides over masked balls, Carnival processions and other parades, until Ash Wednesday. Then, on Carnival Tuesday he is tried and condemned to death for his misrule. After reading out his will, which is always embedded with the idea that people should lead their lives in a carefree fashion, he is ‘burned’ in a public place. In this way, the Carnival King is used as a scapegoat, is a symbol that Carnival is over and Lent has begun, that is, seven weeks of austerity and abstinence.
Traditions and Festivities at Carnival in Sitges
Carnival, or Carnaval as it is known here, officially kicks off on the 8th of February this year. The same day, named ‘Jueves Ladero’, or ‘Fatty Thursday’, is dedicated to feasting before the Lenten period. Free ‘churros’ will be on offer and you can even take part in a tortilla-eating contest, before the King makes his first appearance.
The following day, celebrations continue throughout the day and night. Parades line the streets, while everyone shares in the party atmosphere. Almost all attendees of the Carnival in Sitges dress in brightly colored masks and exotic costumes over the weekend.
On Wednesday 14th February the final festivities take place. Individuals celebrate their last and ever-so-sweet moments before the onset of Lent, indulging in their favorite dishes and desserts and preparing for the ‘burial of the sardine’ the following day. In this tradition, a sardine is buried at the beach, to symbolize the beginning of the great fast before Easter.
Why Choose Sitges?
Sitges is often referred to as the ‘Gay Capital’ of Europe and during the Carnival, the community comes together to put on an unforgettable show. The already vivid festivities that take place in this beachside town are stepped up a notch for Carnaval making for a wild, vibrant and fun fiesta for all, one which is often compared to Mardi Gras.
If you’re looking to stay close to all of the action this February, then we recommend renting one of the many Sitges apartments near the town center and the beach. But, if you prefer to stay in Barcelona and take a day trip to Sitges, then you can easily reach the town in around 40 minutes by Renfe train.