April 26 – Burial of the Sardine in Spain

Posted on April 26, 2014

It's a parade.
It's a festival.
It's a fireworks show.
It's a huge fiesta.

It's...a funeral? For a fish?

The Burial of the Sardine Festival is a very popular event in Murcia, Spain. It is the last event of the Carnival / Lent / Easter season, and it dates back to 1850, when a group of students paraded through the streets with a sardine.

I'm not sure if that long-ago group used a real sardine—which is, let's face it, small and stinky—or if they used a larger papier-mache sardine, but these days Spaniards use a papier-mache effigy.

Many groups of street entertainers have make the city merry in the days before the festival. Last night “Lady Sardine” read a humorous speech from the balcony of town hall.

Today the street entertainers are making a cavalcade (parade) that winds through the streets with “giants” and “big heads” and bands. There are also Brazilian samba groups and torch bearers and men dressed up as women, pretending to be widows mourning the sardine. Best of all, there are floats dedicated to the Olympian gods; people on the floats throw thousands of toys out into the crowd!


"Big Heads"
Floats - the "gods" throw
hundreds of thousands of
euros' worth of toys into the
After the parade, the sardine is not buried—it's burned! I guess the sardine represents fasting and abstinence—but does its cremation mean “we're done with all that now”? Actually, I gather that the destruction of a symbol by fire means putting away the problems and faults of the past, and putting away the excesses of Carnival time, and starting anew.

Along with the burning of the sardine is the fireworks display. And then the people party!

(By the way, there are “Burials of the Sardine” in other Spanish cities as well. Murcia's festival is unusually big, wacky, and late in the year compared to others.)

Also on this date:

Plan ahead:

Check out my Pinterest boards for:
And here are my Pinterest boards for:

No comments:

Post a Comment