February in Catalonia means Carnival time, when King Carnestoltes (the Carnival King) takes over the whole of the country and everyone is free to let their hair down in parties, parades, and fancy dress: everything is allowed! Carnival traditionally begins on a Thursday (Fat Thursday) and ends on the following Wednesday (Ash Wednesday), with the Burial of the Sardine ceremony representing the start of abstinence and fasting for the Christian tradition of Lent.
While parades are held everywhere in the country, from Platja d’Aro to the Pyrenees and Solsona, the places that historically stand out for their versions of the tradition are Sitges, which is visited by hundreds of thousands, and Vilanova i la Geltrú, the only carnival to have endured during the Franco regime, with its traditional candy fight as a highlight. However, wherever you may be, make sure to try some of the delicious traditional Carnival dishes: the coca de llardons (flatbread with pancetta) or botifarra d’ou (pork sausage with egg). Enjoy your Carnival!