Carnival is a time to wear colourful costumes to lose your individuality and experience social unity. The tradition reverses everyday rules and norms and combines elements of circus, costumes, masks, parties and street parades. Carnival is originally a Christian holiday before Lent to overindulge, be gluttonous, satirical and grotesque.
This year the Sitges Carnival ran from Thursday, February 8th to Tuesday, February 13th. The carnival is one of the world’s top 10 carnivals and one of the biggest in Spain. The carnival attracts more than 300,000 people every year and the town becomes a constant party zone for seven days and nights.
The Sitges Carnival is full of colours, costumes, feathers, dancers, theatrical performances, a large gay community and more. There are around 50 floats and 3,000 participants marching through the centre of Sitges to the waterfront. People of all ages and backgrounds travel to enjoy the carnival; there is even a children’s parade during the day. The biggest events during carnival week in Sitges are Rua de la Disbauxa and Rua de l’Extremini.
Carnival begins on Jueves Lardero, or Dijous Gras in Catalan, and is a day of gluttony. The Spanish and Catalan people enjoy the Catalan butifara (sausage) and a Spanish tortilla (omelette) andThe Carnival King arrives. The festival ends on the following Tuesday on the Burial of the Sardine where a sardine is buried to symbolize the abstinence from fish, meat, alcohol and sweets for the following 40 days leading up to Easter.
As Sitges is about a two-hour train ride from Barcelona, I had the pleasure of enjoying this memorable and eventful parade on Sunday, February 11. The parade was bustling with crafty costumes full of colours and feathers, various themes like ancient Egyptians and Willy Wonka, upbeat music and a lively atmosphere. The parade lasted over four hours and was loads of fun. Unfortunately, I did not have my camera with me, so I only have cellphone-quality picture. Nevertheless, I absolutely enjoyed this exciting experience that I could never have imagined if I only lived in Canada.