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Leisure and Culture

Barcelona Carnival 2020

scary grey mask carnival
Written by Daniella

Carnival celebrations will be back in Barcelona in 2020, and this popular event takes place from February 20 to 26. There will be an interesting programme with lots of different activities all over the city of Barcelona, and during the whole week you can expect masquerade balls and costume parties, parades and workshops, music and even tortilla baking contests.

Today’s blog article by ShBarcelona will share some interesting information on Carnival 2020.

Related article: Carnival in Barcelona

Carnival 2020: programme, history and trivia

Carnival will start on February 20 this year, and on this day both visitors and residents can taste some of the Spanish tortilla (potato omelette) and butifarra de huevo (a sausage). The King of Carnival and his ambassadors will be in a parade in the afternoon, and this parade is called Pasacalle de los Siete Embajadores.

figure dressed in red and black carnival

Photo by violetta via Pixabay

The route will start in the neighbourhood of Gotic and end at Plaza de Sant Jaume. Once the King and his ambassadors have arrived at the square, they will announce the official beginning of the carnival festivities from up on the City Hall’s balcony.

On Saturday February 22 (in the afternoon) many carnival parades will take place in Barcelona. The Ruas de Carnaval can be seen in every neighbourhood, with parades and people in costumes and masks, all initiated by neighbourhood residents.

On Sunday February 23 (also in the afternoon) there will be a great parade called Desfile del Rey Carnaval y la naranjada. The King and his ambassadors will join this fantasy parade full of fun and entertainment, and it will end with lots of confetti and orange balloons (Taronjada).

On February 26, Ash Wednesday, the Entierro de la Sardina (the Burial of the Sardine) will take place. At that moment the King of Carnival says farewell to this year’s festivities, and a satirical funeral procession will follow. Once this parade is over, the week of carnival has officially ended.

Related article: Fabric Shops in Barcelona

carnival lady in blue and green

Photo by SofiLayla via Pixabay

One of the most interesting elements of Barcelona’s carnival is the King of Carnival’s entourage, which is made up of seven ambassadors. This number relates to the seven towns in the city, but it also refers to the Seven Deadly Sins.

The Taronjada mentioned before consists of a colourful battle of confetti and orange balloons at the end of the parade, and this is a tribute to medieval celebrations, but back then they actually threw oranges.

Carnival in Sitges is the most famous carnival of whole Catalonia. Every year they organize special activities, like the popular batucadas (band with percussion instruments in a parade), the carrera de camas (a bed race), the Venetian gala, the queen’s coronation and the Desfile de la Disbauxa (a tropical parade).

The first records of Barcelona’s Carnival date all the way back to the 14th century, but at that time you could not throw oranges and masks were regulated. There has even been a time when carnival started on All Saints’ Day and then lasted several months.

The way carnival is celebrated nowadays began in the 16th century, and that was when the famous masked balls and even the popular Burial of the Sardine first started taking place.

The use of costumes and disguises peaked from the 19th century and onwards, but it wasn’t allowed during Franco’s dictatorship, because no celebrations at all took place then. The traditional Carnival was reintroduced at around 1980.

Do you have other interesting information about carnival in Barcelona?

About the author

Daniella

Daniella enjoys everything the city of Barcelona has to offer. She writes, translates and loves discovering Catalonia and its beautiful nature.

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