Catalonia lets its hair down over Carnival weekend

Tens of thousands turn out to celebrate annual festival that this year saw alcohol-free parades and candy in biodegradable wrappers

A carnival parade in Tarragona, February 23, 2020 (by Mar Rovira)
A carnival parade in Tarragona, February 23, 2020 (by Mar Rovira) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

February 24, 2020 11:56 AM

No doubt many in Catalonia woke up with something of a hangover on Monday morning, after a weekend of night-long revelry during this year's Carnival celebrations.

Towns and cities held parties and parades as people all around the country got dolled up in fancy dress and let their hair down before the traditional abstinence of Lent.

Yet, there may not have been as many sore heads as usual in the Costa Brava town of Platja d'Aro, as the parade through the seaside resort's streets was alcohol-free this year.

However, it did not seem to spoil the party, as some 66 elaborately decorated floats took part in the official parade, the largest of its kind in the northern region of Girona.

Water distribution points in Reus

In the southern city of Reus, too, efforts were made to cut back on alcohol consumption, with water distribution points along the parade route to provide an alternative to booze.

The Reus parade featured some 8,000 participants on Saturday night, dressed up as clowns, vikings and well-known movie characters, with over 50 floats taking part.

Meanwhile, the western provincial capital of Lleida saw some 20,000 people - between participants and the public - turn out for its parade that featured some 42 floats.

Lleida's celebration also had a serious tone, with the event's opening address mentioning the political situation in Catalona, and some people dressed up in support of local farmers.

'Eco-candy' in Vilanova i la Geltrú

One of the most popular carnival celebrations in the country is held in Vilanova i la Geltrú, on the coast just south of Barcelona, and this year attracted over 17,000 people.

The Vilanova carnival traditionally involves candy fights, and nine 'battles' took place, using a total of 110 tonnes of candy, which this year was in biodegradable wrappers.

In the southern city of Tarragona, 1,500 people from 18 groups - known as 'comparses' - who won last year's carnival contest sang and danced for the public in their fancy dress.

Choreographed dance routines and plenty of colored feathers and sequins were on show in what was also a celebration of Tarragona's 40th Carnival, which goes on until Tuesday.