The first documented reference we have of Carnival being celebrated in Barcelona is an order issued in 1333 by the then City Council, the Consell de Cent, banning the throwing of oranges and limiting the use of masks to certain occasions. Originally the Carnival celebrations were very long, starting around All Saints, and they were characterised by debauchery and wild, reckless behaviour.
In an effort to assimilate this uncontrolled popular festival, the public authorities started to assume responsibility for organising it in the 16th century. Slowly it evolved into the festival we know today, with a series of fixed events such as the Carnival King's arrival, the masked balls and the 'burial of the sardine'.
A taste for disguises and fancy dress, linked to the fashion of the day, gradually developed in the 19th century. That was also a time when satirical literature enjoyed one of its heydays, with satirical bans, proclamations and notices published in the press. There was no official Carnival celebration in the city under the Franco regime and it was not celebrated again until 1980.
There are several parades throughout the Barcelona Carnival, with each neighborhood organizing its own parades and festivities. Apart from the parades, there will also be many competitions held for children
Each year the carnival in Barcelona starts with Fat Thursday. Fat Thursday is the day where everyone can start stuffing themselves with food in preparation of the fasting period of Lent. This day consists of many food competitions and feasts.
Several parades throughout the neighborhoods of Barcelona. For visitors we recommend ones in Born and Gothic areas.
Inspired by the original battle of orange throwing, La Toronjada is now part of the King Carnival parade. It´s a color conflict in which orange balloons and confetti are thrown in the air.
The Carnival in Barcelona ends on Ash Wednesday with the traditional Burial of the Sardine. The closing ceremony of the carnival will be accompanied by nice music by school bands, and there will be plenty of activities for the children.