Monday, March 19, 2012

El entierro de la sardina (The Burial of the sardine)

I saw carnival processions before, but I never saw the El entierro de la sardina (The Burial of the sardine) up till yesterday. I looked it up and apparently other ceremonies like this - burning of an effigy, accompanied by a procession/ritual - exist in Spanish tradition in various places. The burning symbolizes cleansing, passing of old and new beginnings. In this case, it marks the end of the carnival. In "normal" circumstances, burial falls on Ash Wednesday, but, it being Fuerteventura, it's not really linked to anything, and feels like a way to end the carnival with a proper bang.

I didn't take any pictures, because it was dark and crowded, but below are some videos of the event. It all happened on the small main town beach in Corralejo.

First, we could hear the sound of samba drums and a small torch-bearing procession of people dressed in black appeared. They were carrying the large figure of sardine with them. It was placed on a podium. If you look to the right of the sardine in the second half of the video, you could see some people dressed as priests, and just about see a crucifix in someone's hand. The whole thing is meant to look like a funeral; priests and lamenting women ("adios! adioooos!"), the works.

After some while (giving enough time for a local press to run around and photograph the sardine from all angles) the street lights were switched off, so the torches and flashes were the only lights. Firemen shooed everybody some distance away and the fish was set alight

then quite spectacular firework display begun. It wasn't very long, but it was non-stop firing from the pier, the water (I didn't quite got where they placed the fireworks there, maybe boats?) and from the beach. Little video below shows heart-shaped fireworks, never saw those before. We were standing on the pier, and most of the explosion were happening right above our heads - quite refreshing lack of concern for health and safety.

It was rather strange, quite beautiful, and somewhat spooky. I feel that this picture of ever-cheerful Goya gets it quite right, even with no sardine, fireworks or samba band visible

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