Dancing, sweets, and revelry: Carnival begins

The start of the celebrations also saw a food fight in the street in the town of Vilanova i la Geltrú

The King of Carnival Carnestoltes on his float in Sitges on February 28 2019 (by Gemma Sànchez)
The King of Carnival Carnestoltes on his float in Sitges on February 28 2019 (by Gemma Sànchez) / ACN

ACN | Sitges

March 1, 2019 03:44 PM

This week, the sleepy, seaside town of Sitges has been turned on its head: it’s time for Carnival. Starting on Fat Thursday, the celebration proves to be one of the most colorful, eccentric, and joyous celebrations, most famously held in the town south of the capital.

This year, it all began on February 28 with the arrival of the character who ‘takes over’ city hall: King Carnestoltes, ruler of carnival, this year embodied with gold and yellow baroque clothes and face paint.

Colors for values

Seven colors, representing values like love, peace, nature, freedom, and respect for sexual and gender identity featured in the vibrant opening act, attended by over 2,000 people. Another topical theme in the show was a rejection of sexual assault.

And this is just the beginning: Thursday’s ‘Arribo’ parade sets in motion a full week of activities and partying, which will also the participation of the Queen of Carnival, dressed in homage to the Cuban heritage of the town. 


In the coming days, Sitges hopes to welcome 260,000 visitors, alongside the thousands of participants. This is to be facilitated by heightened security measures, which for the first time include drones.

A sticky food fight

Even before the glitzy revelry at night in Sitges, just down the coast, the town of Vilanova I la Geltrú was getting ready as well – with a food fight, no less. 


During the day, hundreds of children gather to throw merengue at each other during ‘la merengada,’ aided by pastry chef Jaume Blanch, who throws piping bags full of the dessert from the balcony of his shop.

And then, the big reveal: the ‘main’ meringue, a man-sized sweet that’s on display in the establishment window leading up to Fat Thursday, is lowered into the crowd. This year, it took the shape of a rainbow unicorn.