The Spanish Carnival season is celebrated all over Spain, in every region Carnival has its own unique character and traditions.

Barcelona has always had its own flavour of festivities, and this year, 2012, Barcelona City Council is launching a new carnival model that seeks to recover the distinctive historical character of its celebration in the city. So instead of a central procession there will be several smaller processions around the city, and ancient traditions such as the carnival dance, the arrival of the king, and the burial of the sardine are making a comeback.

These customs originate in the carnival traditions of the 15th and 16th century and have been revived with the collaboration of the historians.

As well as the revival of long lost traditions, Carnival this year will be about greater public participation, following dialogue with the organisations and societies that take part in Carnival, it has been decided to involve the residents, associations, schools and markets of Barcelona’s districts.

The Carnival schedule is still being finalised, but to date events confirmed include:

– Dijous Gras, or Fat Thursday, on the 16th of February. Celebration will centre around the Santa Caterina Market, with the collaboration of other markets across Barcelona and will include the presentation of the carnival’s seven ambassadors.

– The Carnival King (Carnestoltes) will take place on Passeig del Born, where he will parade with his retinue, preceded by his ambassadors, this will be followed by a masked ball (16th of February, 5.30-9.00pm.).

– Carnival parades (18 February) – to be held in the different neighbourhoods and organised by each neighbourhood’s carnival association.

– The main carnival event will take place in the Born neighbourhood (19th of February) and includes two masked balls, the “Batalla” (battle) and the “Gran Sarau” (big dance), and will be divided into three parts: at 5 pm the kids’ “sarau”, at 6 pm the carnival parade and battle or “taronjada” (orange fight), and, finally, at 6.30 pm, the typical carnival dances and masked balls will take place in the patio of the Convent de Sant Agustí, on the Passeig del Born, and in the train station concourse.

– The burial of the sardine (22nd February) will take place in Parc de la Ciutadella and will be accompanied by a series of activities for children.

If you are in Barcelona in February, make sure you join in the carnival fun! See our Barcelona apartments if you need to reserve accommodation.