Summary of the Carnival in Vila de Vilanova i la Geltrú
The capital of Garraf is one of the epicenters of carnivals. Vila de Vilanova i la Geltrú is celebrating Carnival 2024 from Saturday 3 February, a key festival for the city that has been declared a Heritage Festival of National Interest since 1985.
Carnival is a festivity that has been documented since 1790, although it was banned by the Francoist authorities during the first years of the dictatorship. It resumed in the street in 1955 and, in a second phase, between 1976 and 1981. It has always tried to maintain the scheme of the carnivals of the second half of the 19th century.
Carnival dates in Vila de Vilanova i la Geltrú 2024
The carnivals in Vila de Vilanova start on the Saturday before Fat Thursday with the so-called Balls de Mantons, organized by the organizations participating in the festivities. These are gala balls where the men attend in suits and the women in the traditional Manila shawl. This year it will coincide with Saturday 3 February, and the festivities will continue until Ash Wednesday, the 14th.
Carnival activities program in Vila de Vilanova i la Geltrú
Carnival activities in the capital of Garraf are very varied. From the traditional costume streets to the city’s Mantons dance. The candy festival is also noteworthy. Next, the relevant activities of the Carnival in Vila de Vilanova i la Geltrú are detailed, day by day.
Saturday February 3
The opening day with the traditional Shawl Ball: the city dresses up to welcome the carnival. Dresses and shawls fill the streets of the capital of Garraf.
Sunday February 4
Musical skills. Artistic confrontation between the Band of the Escola de Música Mestre Montserrat of Vila de Vilanova i la Geltrú and another invited band. First, a parade is held through the center of the city, until it culminates in Plaça de les Neus, where the competition between the two participating bands takes place, in which dance pieces are performed and the musical battle wins the formation that couples of dancers attract on the dance floor.
Maundy Thursday: February 8
Xatonada: Thursday Gras is equivalent to xatonada in Vila de Vilanova. And you can’t start the carnival without having a proper one. Salad with horseradish sauce, radish, arbequines, tuna, cod and endive. As a second course, various tortillas for all tastes, if necessary, also accompanied by xató. And, to finish, lardon cake and meringue.
Meringue: At midnight, hundreds of people gather in a square with buckets full of meringue. The empastifada is spectacular because there is a real sweet battle. The origin of this show goes back to when a pastry shop in the city prepared meringue for young people to mix with each other and, little by little, the ‘Meringue Route’ was designed between different establishments.
Arrival Friday: February 9
The Carnival King arrives in Vila de Vilanova on Friday. The arrival, then, means the arrival of the king of debauchery. It is received by some gangs, every year in a different part of the city and without any previous protocol, and a parade of floats begins through the streets. Choreographies, music, costumes and parody about the city or the country.
Sermó del Carnestoltes: the street ends in Plaça de la Vila where the king gives the opening sermon of the festival.
Arrival dances: first costume dance of the carnival in Vila de Vilanova.
Sports events Carnival Saturday morning has become the ideal time for sports. Also to walk around the town center and find someone cooking sausages while others are playing human foosball with costumed players. Sport to have fun, nothing more.
The arrival of Caramel. On Saturday afternoon, the Caramel arrives, a sweeter king than the carnival and suitable for all audiences. Plaça del Mercat experiences the arrival of Caramel in the middle of a show that culminates with music and costume dances.
Dance of Malcasats. It is a spoken dance that already appeared in the square in 1860 and that disappeared from Vila de Vilanova in 1959. The representation of popular, primitive theater, in which the characters are the representatives of the authority and the couples bad avenues that expose their problems in a satirical and funny way. Since 2000, it has been performed during carnival days.
Moixó Foguer This character walks the streets of the city, drenched in honey and inside a box full of bird feathers. He wears a mask and a stocking on his head and is accompanied by a retinue of people in nightgowns and a charanga. Together they walk the streets and squares of Vila de Vilanova putting on shows and scattering feathers everywhere.
Night of mascots It is the prelude to the most important day and consists of a traditional costume party, with a specific or free theme.
Sunday of troupes: February 11
Ensembles It is the height of the carnival in Vila de Vilanova. The city transforms, changes color, aroma and face. The different societies walk the streets amid varied music and the sound of the Turuta, a military march that is almost the city’s anthem. The troupe culminates with candy fights in Plaça de la Vila: the flags of the adults cross the square to be the protagonists of a magical moment. The Guerra de Caramels must live up to the cry of ‘Comparsers! The place is yours!’
Dances from Vila de Vilanova and la Geltrú. It is a traditional Catalan dance specific to the city that is danced on the afternoon of Carnival Sunday. It is a show dance in which a boy dances with two girls and has two parts: the first, ceremonious and delicate, and the second, with a cheerful and carefree gallop.
Monday of Choirs: February 12
Rua del Vidalet. Children’s parade through the streets of the city in the middle of the afternoon.
Balls of Paperet. Closure of the street in Plaça de la Vila with a heavy rain of papers.
Carnival choirs. Criticism of various aspects of the local or national world, using music of more or less well-known tunes and a minimum of costumes. The reward? Eating and drinking in points of the city. The group of choirs allows us to interpret what has happened in the city during the last year and how the citizens have experienced it.
Tuesday of Vidalot: February 13
Tuesday afternoon is the time for the Vidalot, the main costume street of the festivity. And for carnival lovers… the Vidalot dance.
Giants of the Old Cuyna. A couple of giants walk and dance to entertain young and old on Tuesday afternoon through the streets of the city.
Ash Wednesday: February 14
After the vigil for His Majesty, the remains leave an improvised mortuary to celebrate the burial of the sardine and the reading of King Carnestoltes’ will.