Carnival of Solsona

Carnival of Solsona
The Carnival of Solsona (Carnaval de Solsona) is one of the most popular Carnival celebrations in Spain. It begins a few days before Fat Tuesday and, like most traditional Carnivals, ends on Ash Wednesday. One of the main tourist attractions in the region, it was declared a Fiesta of Tourist Interest in 1980.

Although there are documents confirming that the Carnival of Solsona had existed before the Spanish Civil War began, the present-day Carnival was established in 1971 after having been prohibited for nearly four decades. It was revived by a group of young people who wanted to resurrect a forgotten tradition.

The 1971 Carnival was a success, so it was decided to make it an annual event. The Carnival of Solsona has been growing ever since. It is a Fiesta of Tourist Interest and one of the most important events in Catalonia that attracts thousands of tourists every year.

The Solsona Carnival features more than 50 events held over 10 or 11 days. They include street performances, concerts and dances, vibrant parades, special events for children, and more. One of the iconic events of the Carnival is the hanging of the donkey (Colgada del Burro in Spanish or Penjada del Ruc in Catalan).

According to local legend, when grass began to grow in one of the city’s bell towers, the locals decided to send a donkey to eat the grass. Unfortunately, the stairs were too narrow, so the donkey was hoisted with a rope tied around its neck to the top of the bell tower. While the poor beast was dying from suffocation, it emptied its bladder over those present at the square in front of the tower.

The hanging of the donkey has become a signature event of the Solsona Carnival. Of course, no one tortures living animals. A fake donkey is hoisted to the top of the tower on Carnival Saturday night, accompanied by traditional songs in Catalan.

The Carnival of Solsona is also famous for its giants (human-like figures representing traditional characters which are between 8 and 10 feet tall), comparses (costumed groups that participate in parties and parades), children’s carnival, and more. The Carnival ends on Ash Wednesday with a firework display.

Carnival of Solsona

Photo: Quirze Grifell




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