By Thomas Macaulay
Catalunya kicks off Carnaval before Lent with the pre-fast feast of Dijous Gras (Fat Thursday) that sets the tone for a week of indulgence. The region’s most boisterous bash take place southwest of Barcelona in the seaside resort of Sitges.
The town has celebrated Carnaval for more than 100 years, gaining fame thanks to the rivalry between the Casino Prado and El Retiro social clubs, who competed to put on the most flamboyant floats and costumes. Their legacy continues in the Sitges Carnaval of today, which attracts thousands of people to the town for food, fancy dress, folk dances, parades and parties.
Festivities commence with gorging on local delicacies such as botifarra d’ou (egg sausages) before the Carnaval King arrives to inaugurate the festival in a speech calling for unlimited indulgence. This concludes on Ash Wednesday with a funeral processing for the Carnaval Sardine, a symbolic burial of the past that allows society to be reborn.