In addition to the children's festival, La Laia this weekend there is also Carnaval to celebrate. Most cities would probably schedule two major festivals on separate weekends - but not Barcelona. Here in Barcelona the adults have Carnaval parades and the children have La Laia events at museums (heck, the kids even get a parade too). Although, as always is the case in Barcelona, there are many child-friendly events for Carnaval.
Yesterday, Dijous Gras (Fat Thursday/ 11 February 2010), marked the beginning of Carnaval in Catalunya. Or as they say in Catalan, "carnestoltes." I have read that the exact meaning and origins of Carnaval is disputed, but one popular definition is "goodbye to the meat" or "carne vale," because during Curaresma (Lent), meat, along with bright clothing, parties and marriages were forbidden for Catholics. Sounds plausible to me.
So, Carnaval is when you can let it all hang out. Which brings me to another definition of "carnestoltes" that I heard - "loose flesh." All the excessive eating, drinking and merrymaking can be blamed on "El Rey de Carnaval." He invites everyone to participate in the craziness, or seems to demand it. At my children's school, El Rey de Carnaval determined which day would be crazy hair, silly sunglasses or face painting day. At the end of carnaval, all your indiscretions can be blamed on El Rey de Carnaval. Of course, it was El Rey de Carnaval that made me jiggle down the street in a thong and two seashells in the Rua de Carnaval. Hmmmm... On the last day of Carnaval, as punishment for his "sins" he is burned at the stake. A mock funeral is held and Lent begins with Ash Wednesday/ "Miercoles de Ceniza."
:: Rua de Carnaval / The Parade ::
One of the highlights of Barcelona's Carnaval (and probably the image sketched in your mind of plumed women in skimpy bikinis) is the "Rua de Carnaval" or Carnaval Parade. Barcelona's Rua de Carnaval is on Saturday, February 13th beginning at 8 pm running down Avinguda Paral.lel. Although, based on youtube videos, I am not sure how many skimpy outfits we'll see in Barcelona... seems like we need to head to Sitges for that.
:: Neighborhood Celebrations ::
Each Barcelona neighborhood has Carnaval celebrations. Many of these include child-appropriate activities, such as xocolatadas, costume contests and parades. Two of the most popular are in Gràcia and Poble Sec.
Each year, Barcelona's Carnaval even has its own Rumba song. 01pista1.027
You can also listen to past year's music on Barcelona's Ajuntament site.
:: Carnaval Videos ::
:: More Information ::