We looked up the parades for our area (El Barri Gotic) and made sure to be at the first stop for each of them. We were dismayed because instead of the big parade with floats and revelry that we are used to and expected, there was a small parade that lasted all of 5 minutes. Since it was the start of the Carnaval (Dijous Gras, Fat Thursday), we thought that there would be more goings on and bigger parades throughout the weekend.
|Each neighborhood, barrio, has a Carnaval representative (ambassadors) and each neighborhood gets a certain color. These are children from the neighborhood of Sants/Montjuic.|
|These are children representing Les Corts/Pedres-Albes.|
I took video of the parade instead of photos, but this literally was it...a lot of kids walking through the town and then this guy, el Rei Carnestoltes (the Carnival King), rode up in a carriage, talking to everyone through a speaker phone.
I guess we should have followed him to the end point, which is called La Taronjada (The Orange). Since we had no clue that this was going to happen, we turned around and went walking through El Born. When we saw a bunch of kids walking around with big, fat, orange balloons, Des took notice and envy set in. He wanted an orange balloon, too (balloons have been his favorite thing for the past year). I ran up to a man and his daughter and asked him where they had received their balloons. As I was breaking the distressing news to Des, I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned around to find the same little girl handing me her balloon to give to Des. I could have hugged her. I said, "Gracias!" a million times to the father and daughter and gave Des the balloon, beaming. I felt like Mom of the Year and I patted myself on the back on another day saved.
Until..."Mami, Des have other boon?" He threw a tantrum as I crouched down, in the middle of the sidewalk as tons of other little kids with their big, orange balloons walked by, to explain to him that there were no more balloons to be had. Thank God Desigual (a Spanish clothing store) was handing out red, heart-shaped balloons to promote a sale.
That weekend, we got ready for the "real" parade, the big parade showcasing the king and all of his ambassadors. For Carnival, children (and adults) dress up in Costume. It's like Halloween. The morning of the parade, as we were getting ready, I showed Des a google images search of kids with their faces painted. Out of all the cool dragons and snakes and lions that children had painted on their faces, Des picked Spider Man (or, as they say here, el Hombre Arana).
|I know what you're thinking. I should be hired to work at events and JUST do kids' face painting. I know. Maybe in a few years I'll consider a new career and showcase my artistic talents in face painting.|
|This is the ambassador from Sants/Montjuic.|
|Des and Bill watching the parade.|
|The ambassador from Sarria/Sant Gervasi.|
|The obligatory "Des! Stand over there and let me take a picture of you! Hurry!" shot.|
|The ambassador from Gracia.|
|The obligatory "Hurry, Bill! Get Des and me in this shot! Des, stop waving your arm!" said through gritted teeth.|
|Group of the Ambassador from Sant Andreu.|
|All of the colors of the barrios.|
|Aaaaand, that was the entire parade. Des and Billy's face say it all.|
Sant Eulalia is the co-patron saint of Barcelona. She was a Roman living in Barcino who would not recant her Christianity. Therefore, legend has it that she suffered 13 tortures and died at only 13 years of age. She is much loved by the city and especially by the children of the city. Around her feast day, February 12, Barcelona holds a festival in her honor. During the festival, there are lots of music and dance performances throughout Barri Gotic, which culminate in a parade of "Giants" and fireworks. Des loved the giants but wanted nothing to do with the fireworks.
|Des, doing horns with his fingers.|
|He was so excited to see this. He has been on a dragon kick ever since he saw the dragon in Shrek.|
|Both of us were unsure if this was meant to be a chicken or what. Des kept calling it the "Big Gallina."|
|The colors of Catalunya and Spain: red and yellow.|
|This one he kept calling "Big Gallina," too, but it was actually the royal Eagle.|
|More giant people.|
|Parade in our neighborhood featuring different ethnicities that are represented in El Raval. Here we have the Filipino group.|
|Native South Americans.|
|I'm not sure what the story is behind this tradition, but this group, especially the preschoolers up at the top with the helmets, were fun to watch.|
|The last night, they had what they call a "carrefoc," where people, including children!, in devil's costumes do a fireworks show. We were so close to the fire and there were so many people, I wondered about the safety of it all.|
|Des didn't enjoy it as much as I did. He had his ears covered and shook his head no the whole time. The only time he enjoyed himself was when the dragon came out spewing fireworks from his mouth.|
During the Festes Sant Eulalia, the city puts on "Llum BCN." Llum means "light" in Catalan. At night, the city lights up the facades of buildings around the city and each night, does a light show on the facade of the Mayor's office building in Plaza Sant Jaume.
|This building is a few blocks away from our house.|
|The start of the light show.|
|This was by far the best event that the city put on. The light show was incredibly well-done and we all enjoyed it immensely.|
Thanks for reading!