Sitges Carnival 2012

Countdown to Sitges Carnival 2012

Here you will find the main dates for events during the Sitges Carnival 2012 as well as some interesting information about it's origins.

This page will be updated regularly, including more starting points which are as still a heavily guarded secret!…so make sure you keep coming back to check, or why not join Sitges4u and you will get to know before everyone else!

Sitges Carnival...Whats it all about?

Date & Time Event Location
Thursday 16th February 7.00pm Arrival of the King of Carnival 2012 This event is the official start to the Sitges Carnival 2012 and is a great show for all the family. Starting at 7.00pm the show will last approx 1 hour. tba
Sunday February 19th 3.00pm “Rua Infantil" The first parade is by the children and for the children. The floats move through Sitges centre and the parade will last for approx 90 minutes. Starting point Cap de la Vila
Sunday February 19th 7.30pm “Rua de la Disbauxa” The adult's parade is not to be missed and this Sunday night parade is more of a local event. If you have youngsters then this parade is more advisable than Tuesday's which tends to be more rowdy! The parade will last for approx 3 hours. Starting point Cap de la Vila
Tuesday February 21st 3.00pm “Rua Infantil" The second parade by the children of Sitges. Floats will move through Sitges centre and the parade will last for approx 90 minutes. Starting point Cap de la Vila
Tuesday February 21st 7.30pm "Rua de l´extermini" This adult's parade is the busiest, hundreds of thousands of people descend on the town to celebrate in the streets of Sitges, Not really recommened for young children or pets! Starting point Cap de la Vila
Wednesday February 22nd 7.00pm "l'enterro de sa majestat Carnestoltes" This funeral parade of the king marks the end of the carnival. Sobbing `widows´ and some fireworks. This parade is suitable for children and last for an hour. Starting point Ayuntamiento de Sitges (Town Hall)

The origin of the name Carnival

From the Latin ‘carne’ meaning flesh/ meat and ‘vale’ meaning goodbye. "O flesh, farewell!” a phrase to encourage letting go of your former (or everyday) self and embracing the carefree nature of the festival.

Why is it on when the weather is so cold?

Carnival is a festive season which always occurs immediately before Lent. While its starting day varies, it usually ends on Ash Wednesday, which is the beginning of Lent.

Traditionally, during Lent no parties may be held and many foods, such as meat, are forbidden. The forty days of Lent represent the time Jesus spent in the desert where, according to the Bible, he endured temptation by Satan.

So it seems quite natural that people should enjoy street parties, dressing up and generally celebrate before they fast.

The Sitges Carnival is one of the most important dates in the community of Catalonia. Folk dances and xatonada (traditional local cod salad of Sitges) are also characteristic elements of the carnival.

The two important moments in the carnival of Sitges are the Rua de la Disbauxa the (Debauchery Parade) on Sunday night and the Rua de l‘Extermini, or (Extermination Parade) on Tuesday night. Some 50 odd floats and 4000 participants slowly make there way through the narrow streets watched by 250,000 onlookers.

Who organises Carnival?

There are around 25 groups that are affiliated to El Retiro and 25 to El Prado (social clubs in Sitges). Although there is no official competition for the best group/float in the parade, there is a fierce rivalry between the two factions. The King of Carnival (Carnestoltes) and his group are always from El Retiro and have always existed. The Carnival Queen is a relatively new addition and is always from El Prado. Some traditionalists from El Retiro don’t recognise the Queen as an official part of carnival. The two are usually organised completely separately and that is why sometimes the themes of the King and Queen don’t compliment each. For example in 2005 the King was a vampire and the Queen a cat!

Who will become King and Queen?

Both have to be Catalan and usually born in the town. Every summer any group who would like to be King or Queen for the following year have to pitch their ideas to the Retiro or Prado committee. The King's group, especially, is kept a big secret. Nobody, except a select few from El Retiro, knows the theme or who the king will be for the following year. In fact most groups are highly secretive as to their ideas and themes.
It would be a big faux par to give away any information regarding your group’s costume, music etc for the up and coming parade.

How do I get to be in the Carnival Parade?

A question we are always asked! Well you really need to know someone who is already part of a group (Colla), they will then have to invite you to join the group. Leaders called Caps de la Colla, who run the groups, have the final say. Some groups are highly choreographed, so you must also remember that you may be expected to attend rehearsals sometimes twice a week in the months leading to the parade.  

How much does it cost to be in a group?

The cost varies according to the group. Expect to pay anything from 50€-350€ depending on the costume and type of group. Some of the money goes towards the building of the float (caroza) and some of course towards the booze, which is usually stored in the float.

Accommodation during Sitges Carnival 2010

Do you need somewhere to "sleep" during Carnival? Why not try our accomodation page and contact owners direct or perhaps try StaySitges booking agency. They can help you decide where is the best place to stay during Carnival, depending on whether you want to be in the middle of it all, or need something a little quieter.

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