March is an exciting time to be in Barcelona. You won’t want to miss the Barcelona Carnival, which takes place in the week before the 40 days of Lent, as a chance to celebrate and eat in excess before the fasting begins. The carnival starts on “Greasy Thursday”, or “Dijous Gras”, which in 2014 is Thursday 27th February, and it lasts for seven days.
You won’t be stuck for things to do, as this week-long celebration features a range of big and small events. There are colourful parades of floats and people in costumes, dancing, singing, juggling or playing instruments. The first parades of the carnival are to celebrate the arrival of the King Carnival, and with so much going on it’ll be easy to find a parade making its procession across the city.
The carnival has taken a step back to a more historic and traditional style. This means that often events are organised by different neighbourhoods in Barcelona and you will easily find a parade or other sort of celebration just by taking a walk through some of the more historic districts of the city. These usually take place around public squares and markets, so there will probably be posters with information about what’s going on nearby. Also some nightclubs will be throwing special parties during carnival week.
The carnival ends on Ash Wednesday (5th March) when sardines are buried during a traditional ceremony, which symbolises the beginning of the fast. This is known as the “Sardine’s Funeral”, when the King of Carnival dies and is buried. It’s traditional to exchange bright clothes for black ones and eat fish, so when you’re done partying, head down to the market and pick up your own sardines for a cheap and tasty dish. You will feel like a local joining in with Barcelona’s traditions!