Sitgetans take to the streets to participate in or watch these intense days of Carnival, where responsible imagination and revelry monopolize all citizens’ attention. The town becomes a stage characterized essentially by debauchery and joy, but always adhering to our way of life and of doing things, in accordance with our parameters and our idiosyncrasy as polite, civic-minded citizens.
During Sitges’ Carnival days the town is governed by Carnestoltes, el Rei dels Poca-soltes (The Carnival King, King of the Crackpots), along with the presence and collaboration of the Carnival Queen, to spread an atmosphere of revelry and debauchery throughout dozens of social and cultural acts, xatonades (meals including a traditional winter salad and different omelets) held at the town’s different associations, and in the streets with thousands of disguises to be seen, until the most important moment arrives with the Debauchery and Extermination parades.
Among several main events, the Carnival begins with election of the Children’s Carnival Queen at one of the local associations, the Prado Suburense Casino, and the Great Carnival Quinto (a traditional bingo-like game) in another local association, the El Retiro Recreational Society.
The Arribo, or Arrival of His Majesty Carnestoltes accompanied by the Carnival Queen is on Fat Thursday. Once over, His Majesty and his entourage head for the Town Hall to take possession of it and address all Sitgetans reading the Predicot or Proclamation. This evening there are traditional xatonades at El Retiro, the Prado or the Agrupació de Balls Populars (Traditional Dance Association).
On Friday, His Majesty Carnestoltes, the Queen and their entourage visit the town’s schools and institutions. The visits continue on Saturday and in the afternoon there is usually music in the streets and activities for children.
Sunday is a key day for the Sitges Carnival, as the Rua de la Disbauxa (Debauchery Parade) takes place, a parade with about fifty floats and over 3,000 disguised participants, around the center of town and again on Tuesday, there’s the Rua de l'Extermini (Extermination Parade) with the same route and a greater number of visitors who come to enjoy this festival. Children in disguise also take over Sitges’ streets the same two days but in the afternoon.
Carnival ends on Wednesday with the Funeral of Carnestoltes and the townspeople can accompany him and his entourage to the Burial place where his testament is read.
Besides these main events, there are many others that are a part of the Carnival program, which are announced publicly as this festival draws closer.