Sitges Carnival

Blog, España

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.

The Catacombs of San Gennaro


The Catacombs of San Gennaro are an underground world lying layers beneath the city of Naples. By walking only a few steps below the surface, you can travel back in time to the roots of Neapolitan faith. These catacombs are a massive burial ground with two levels extending 5,800 square metres. They date back to the second century AD when Greek and Roman law forbade burials in the city. The catacombs were dug out of Capodimonte Hill, which at the time was outside of Naples. In the fourth century AD, the catacombs were extended after the first patron saint of Naples’, St. Agrippinus, remains were placed in an altar of the underground basilica on the lower level of the catacombs. To this day, mass is still celebrated in St. Agrippinus’ basilica where worshippers can touch the saints’ remains through a hole in the altar. To the right of the basilica, in the entrance to the lower level of the catacombs, is a large baptismal font that was commisioned by Bishop Paul II. The ceiling of this level measures about six metres and there are around 3000 burials that have been discovered on both levels.

The upper level contains some of the earliest Christian paintings in southern Italy, a bishop’s crypt and the tomb of San Gennaro. From 413 to 431 the relics of the patron saint of Naples, San Gennaro, were kept in the catacombs. The tomb is located under the Bishop’s Crypt with a sceptre lying on the burial site. Right above the tomb, The Bishop’s Crypt is decorated with the first 14 bishops of Naples and some of the earliest mosaics.

In the third century AD, Christians began to use the catacombs with the simplest tombs dug along the walls and in the ground. The wealthiest burial sites were arched and featured frescos and mosaics.  The Catacombs of San Gennaro take you down the rabbit hole into an alternate world of faith, art, history life and death.

The Royal Monastery of Santa Maria de Pedralbes


The Royal Monastery of Santa Maria de Pedralbes is one of the purest examples of Catalan Gothic architecture in Catalonia. The monastery was founded in 1326 by King James II of Aragon for his wife Elisenda de Montcada. The building housed a community of Clarissa nuns, mostly from noble families. The nuns resided in the building from the 14th century up until the early 1980s. Now the building is an important historical landmark featuring a museum displaying the everyday life of the nuns, religious art and temporary exhibitions. The monastery also hosts a beautiful medieval garden with medicinal herbs, a spectacular fountain, an intricate well and peaceful sitting areas. The building is a massive work of art and boasts the world’s largest Gothic cloister at three-stories high with two galleries and 26 columns on each side.