Sitges Carnival

Sitges Carnival
The Catalan town of Sitges is renowned worldwide for its genre film festival and Carnival, as well as for its historical sites, beaches and nightlife. The Sitges Carnival, also known as Carnestoltes, has been celebrated for over a century. It begins on Fat Thursday and ends on Ash Wednesday.

The Carnival of Sitges is one of the most iconic events in Catalonia, as well as one of the oldest and best known festivals in Spain. It was inaugurated in the late 19th century and has been held annually ever since. Although the Carnival went through a rough patch during the Spanish Civil War and Francoist Spain, it is now one of the most popular European carnivals.

The Sitges Carnival opens on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday, with the event known as L’Arribo (the Arrival). On this day, King Carnestoltes (King Carnival) arrives in town, and the festivities begin. Every arrival is different because there are several Carnival groups in Sitges, and the opening ceremony is organized by a different group each year.

Another iconic event of the Sitges Carnival takes place on Saturday. The famous Sitges Carnival Bed Race is a really crazy competition you don’t want to miss! It features teams pushing beds on wheels along the streets of Sitges. Each team consists of five members dressed in costumes, with four members pushing the bed and the fifth one lying on it. Trophies are given to the quickest team, the second and the third team to cross the finish line, the team with the best bed, and the team with the best group costume.

The two most important events of the Carnival are its two parades, Rua de la Disbauxa (Debauchery Parade) on Sunday night and Rua de l'Extermini (Extermination Parade) on Tuesday night. Each parade features about 3,000 revelers in vibrant costumes and around 40 elaborately decorated floats.

Other events that take place during the Carnival include costumed balls, children’s parades, street parties, theatrical performances, La Tequereque Festa (a drum parade), and more. Iconic foods eaten during the Carnival are butifarra (a type of sausage) and xató (a sauce made with hazelnuts, almonds, breadcrumbs, olive oil, garlic, vinegar, salt, and the nyora pepper).

The Carnival of Sitges ends on Ash Wednesday with the burial of the sardine at the beach. This ceremony symbolizes the end of the festivities and the beginning of Lent.

Sitges Carnival

Photo: BB_2008




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