It’s true: Solsona carnival bears no relation to its counterparts in Brazil. The only thing they have in common is that they all take place in February. Let’s think again. Forget all about elaborately decorated floats, samba dancers, feathers, and sequins. You are about to experience one of the most participative, assertive, traditional festivals in all Catalonia. For the local inhabitants, the fun lies in changing roles and taking part in the general debauchery. Be prepared to join in the festival, where for a whole week people shed their sense of embarrassment, feel free to criticise the local authorities, and act out whatever role they choose. That is Solsona - during carnival time, of course! 

Mingle with locals and visitors to discover the secrets of the carnival, now listed as a Festival of National Interest. The main characters are the “mad giants” who dance to the beat of the carnival anthem on Saturday, parodying the “official” giants that have taken part in the festival for the last 25 years. On the same day, a cardboard ass is hung from a tower in a small square in the town centre, where it remains until Ash Wednesday, peeing on unsuspecting pedestrians walking below. On Saturday night, the local bars set up in the street, while the revelry continues until the early hours of the morning and merrymakers whirl and twirl in joyous abandon. 

Other events making Solsona carnival one of the best known and most original in the country include a soapbox race of homemade vehicles driven by “suicide pilots” through the town centre. The festival ends with the traditional burial of the Carnival King, but only after reading his will, organising his wake, and giving him a proper send-off. Now it’s time to behave again… until next year comes round!