platja d'aro

Carnival arrives and many Catalan towns launch the largest street party of the year

February 13, 2015 03:56 PM | ACN / Marina Force Castells

Carnival time is here and Catalonia is ready to let its hair down. From the 12th to the 18th of February many Catalan cities and towns will be submerged in an explosion of colour: ‘Carnestoltes’. The origin of this eagerly awaited tradition goes back to the early Middle Ages, when Christians enjoyed a few days of debauchery leading up to Lent, the 40-day period of fasting and pious behaviour. Despite conflicting views about the etymology of the word ‘Carnestoltes’, credit usually goes to the Latin form ‘carns toldrem’ (‘farewell to flesh’). One of the biggest carnivals in Catalonia is held in Sitges, a coastal town with about 30,000 inhabitants 30km south of Barcelona, which expects nearly 300,000 visitors during the parades next Sunday and Tuesday.

‘Carnestoltes’, an old but always eagerly awaited tradition

February 16, 2012 09:18 PM | CNA / Joëlle Philippe

Carnival celebrations in small towns around Girona remain a huge social event and a great occasion for having fun with friends. Throughout this whole week small villages in the province of Girona celebrate the ‘Carnestoltes’, a whole set of celebrations based on the Carnival theme. Despite the economic crisis and many budget cutbacks, the festivity remains a hugely strong tradition and offers a mix of fun and excess before Lent begins.