Friday, March 11, 2011

Witches transform into donkeys and other Friday night fun

066 Las Burras. Entierro de la Sardina de GüímarIt’s Tenerife, it’s carnaval and so the fun continues with yet more curious festivals that would make a night at your local BDSM fetish club seem a little dull by comparison.

Should you decide not to watch a bevvy of blokes in costume drag, racing around Puerto de la Cruz, over obstacles, in pole-dancer shoes, then you still have a choice of various other carnaval entertainments on offer.

In Güímar, for instance, witches will once more turn into donkeys at their Carnaval closing festivities known as Las Burras de Güímar (The Donkeys of Güímar).

This piece of street theatre only dates back to 1992, but was born with the objective of making the Burial of the Sardine celebrations more popular, drawing upon various local beliefs related to witchcraft, including the belief that witches were able to transform themselves into donkeys in order to gain entry into the homes of the country folk, in order to cast their spells.

The play begins with the appearance of some strange women in various balconies and windows. Once the sardine has passed in front of them, they transform into donkeys. They make their way together to the square, where they scare the lights out of some peasants, who work out that they are these famous Burras.

So they turn back into witches and form a coven, invoking a demon, who appears as a large figure with a skull for a head, accompanied by numerous imps. The witches dance with the demons, filling the plaza with noise, until the sound of religious music is heard, which indicates the presence of the Inquisition.

At that moment, a group of friars, accompanied by a Bishop arrive, who begins an exorcism, calling upon the Archangel Michael for help. The latter appears in the sky, accompanied by various angels and fight against the big demon. Once the demon lies defeated on the ground, the Bishop orders the burning of the witches on the bonfire along with the sardine.

(And everyone lives happily ever after.)

It’s tonight, Friday, March 11th, in the Plaza de San Pedro in Güímar (map), starting at 9 p.m.

And of course it’s free. Just think how much you’d have to pay for the drugs to have an equivalent experience anywhere else! Smile

SanSusino in Garachico

Also tonight and also at 9 p.m., this time in Garachico, there’s the Quema de Don Sansusino (The Burning of Mr Sansusino), where the fish has turned into a figure.

The funeral party will leave from the chapel on the Calle Nicolás de Ponte and will proceed along various streets in the town, before arriving at the port. There the much awaited Miss Sansusino 2011 contest will be held, in which residents and visitors will participate in electing the “widows” of the carnaval. And based on experience of what carnaval widows are usually like, we can be reasonably certain that none of them were actually born female, however they are dressed.

After that, in the Plaza de la Libertad, there will be dancing to a disco.

Photo: By Mataparda

Fluent in Spanish and having spent 16 years on the island, Pamela Stocks has now been translating, researching and publishing information on customs and events in Tenerife for 25+ years. This takes a considerable amount of time and effort, for which she receives no payment whatsoever. If you find this work useful or interesting, please buy her a coffee. Buy Pamela Stocks a Coffee

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