During the traditional February carnivals, every catalan town or village holds its own celebration with colorful parades, songs, and dances. However, party people around the world especially love the carnival in the seaside town called Sitges, that is located 40 minutes away from Barcelona. What exactly attracts tourists in Sitges? Is it its reputation of the spanish gay capital or its bohemian atmosphere or just its good holiday organization? Everyone will answer this question differently, but the fact remains – last year celebration was attended by more than 300 000 visitors. This time the number can increase and the authorities already developed a special security plan. Watch out Rio De Janeiro, here comes the amazing Sitges carnival! And we have selected its most exciting parts for you.
«ARRIBO» de Su Majestad Carnestoltes/ The Arrival of the carnival King
Traditionally, Sitges celebration opens with the couple – The carnival King and Queen. They, along with an entourage – musicians, dancers, acrobats and other artists – noisily cavalcade the streets, arriving near the City Hall, where the officials will give the carnival King power over the city for a week. When the procession will reach the beach of La Fragata, fireworks will strike, marking the holiday’s beginning. The first day ends with a degustation of the catalan salad «Xatonada» in different areas of the city.
Where and when: Passeig de la Ribera, Sant Pau, Parellades, Cap de la Vila, Major, Ayuntamiento, La Fragata / February 23, 19:00-22:00
Сarreras de camas/ «The Bed Race»
This is one of the most entertaining competitions of the holiday week. Participants – teams of five people – have to dress up a bed in a carnival costume and push it along the narrow streets of Sitges. One person has to sit, lie or stand on this strangely dressed bed, while the rest have to work their muscles. Athletes who will finish first will be rewarded by the carnival King himself.
Where and when: Casino Prado, Francesc Gumà, Jesús, Cap de la Vila, Parellades, Sant Pau, Passeig de la Ribera, Sant Pere, Parellades, Marquès de Montroig, 1r de maig y Passeig de la Ribera hasta la altura del Restaurante Eguzki Lizarran / February 25, 12:00
Tequereque Festa/ «The Thunder Festival»
A challenge for your eardrums and the loudest event of the celebration. One hundred fifty students of the Samba school of Sitges, marching the town streets and playing drums with all their precision and strength. Wishing to make some noise audience are most welcome to join.
Where and when: Pl. de l’Ajuntament, Major, Cap de la Vila, Sant Francesc, Sant Gaudenci, Sant Josep, Parellades, Marquès de Mont-roig, Pl. Industria, Primer de Maig, Joan Tarrida, Bonaire, Parellades y Cap de la Vila / February 25, 17:00
Rua de la Disbauxa/ «The Parade of depravity»
It is the main and the most obscene procession of the carnival. Actors and dancers dress up in the most extravagant costumes and while moving on special platforms, dance to the rhythms of Samba. Behind them a crowd of thousands, dressed in revealing outfits, walking, enticingly swinging their hips. Sexual orientation is not important if you are willing to participate. Provocative behavior is most anticipated in here.
Where and when: Salida desde el final de l’Avinguda Sofia, Passeig de la Ribera (lado mar), La Fragata, Passeig de la Ribera (lado montaña), Bassa Rodona, Plaça del Pou Vedre, Espalter, Sant Francesc y Cap de la Vila / February 26, 19:30
Rua de l’Extermini/ «The Parade of destruction»
Same as the Parade of depravity, only with a pseudo-funeral tone. The members of the local carnival guilds pass through the town of Sitges in decorated carriages, dressed up in flashy costumes and accompanied by loud music. Some of them – expressing sadness at the imminent “death” of the carnival – are dressed in black. After the parade is over, nightlife opens up with its bustling gay parties and Drag Queen shows.
Where and When: Salida del Passeig de la Ribera con Avenida Sofia y dirección La Fragata, vuelta por el Paseo de la Ribera y subida por la calle Bassa Rodona, Pou Vedre, Espalter, Sant Francesc y final en Cap de la Vila / February 28, 21:00
Entierro de la Sardina / «The Sardine’s Funeral»
The last and the most sorrowful day of the carnival. At the City Hall, the faithful followers of His Majesty, while holding back tears, will tell their last goodbyes. The carnival King will deliver a brief farewell speech, and the funeral procession will continue towards the La Fragata beach, where a large Sardine figure will be buried with honors. This symbolizes the end of the celebration and the beginning of the Lent.
Where and when: Major, Cap de la Vila, Parellades, Marquès de Montroig, 1r de Maig i Passeig de la Ribera hasta la playa de La Fragata / March 1, 19:00
By the way, this year, hotel Miramar in Sitges opened a curious exhibition called «Queen: 30 years at the head of the carnival». Among other exhibits – costumes, jewelry, and crowns. It is open to visit until March 1.