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22 Feb

Carnaval in Barcelona (23-26 Feb)

Between the 16th and early 17th centuries, Barcelona’s Carnival was one of the tops in all of Europe – more for its wild reputation than for its roots in tradition – but all that disappeared under Franco. When the city started celebrating again, it was with bits borrowed from Brazil, all leggy and sequinned, as if Barcelona had forgotten that Brazil initially imported Carnival from here, and not the other way round.

Six years ago, Barcelona decided to bring back its historical and traditional Carnival, with all its glorious satire, dancing and costumes, and especially encouraging the participation of all. With that in mind the Ajuntament (City Hall) brought back the Taronjada, an innocent ‘battle’ between the Carnival players and the public of orange balloons and confetti, recalling the actual oranges that were once thrown as far back as the 14th century; the Fuegos Antiguos fireworks show, just after the Arrival of Carnival (Thu 23, 5.45pm), when His Majesty officially gets the party started; and the King’s ambassadors, who represent the seven historical villas of the city: Magòria, Sol de Baix, Tres Torres, Camp d’en Grassot, the Horta laundries, Sant Genís dels Agudells, Fabra i Coats and Clot de la Mel.