Tonight they passed us by in a solemn funeral procession - drummers with suppressed stick movements in the front and loud professional mourners at the end. In between, representatives of Vilanova’s comparses (the carnival societies) lead the way for the carriage carrying the mortal remains of el Rei Carnestoltes (the Carnival King). There will not be any meat served at the closing parties, only sardines and herrings. Not many people stick to the tradition, but today, Ash Wednesday, is the first one of forty days of lent.
The number of people who took part in the procession or lined the sides to watch, yet again reminded me about the role the carnival plays for this town. With the exception for la Guerra de Caramels (the Candy War), our carnival does not attract many visitors so all the people who come out to celebrate do in fact also live here. For the first time, we have made an effort to follow as many events as possible. Although it sounds like a cliché, it has been a great opportunity for us, an expat family, to socialise with the natives of the town.
But now the fireworks have gone off – the carnival in Vilanova i la Geltrú 2008 is over.