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Friday, February 27, 2015

Something for the weekend: Las Burras de Güímar

2Las Burras de Güímar0 Las Burras Entierro de la Sardina 2012

This weekend, on Saturday, 28th February 2015, you can see an unique carnaval event, Las Burras de Güímar, in, not surprisingly, the town of Güímar in Tenerife.

Legend has it that during a funeral, strange donkeys suddenly began to appear and accompany the funeral procession. Upon arrival in the town square, the local people thought they weren't really donkeys, because there was something very "fishy" about them.

Local farmers then came up with the idea of poking them with a knife and indeed, when pierced, the alleged donkeys become terrible and disgusting witches who begin to invoke Satan. The witches start dancing until the bishop arrives and holds an exorcism, calling upon the Archangel Michael for help, who comes down from heaven to fight with the Devil.

When San Miguel manages to kill the Devil after a grueling fight, the Bishop also mandates that the donkeys be burned at the stake to restore tranquility back to the town.

These days the funeral in question is the Entierro de la Sardina (Burial of the Sardine) that marks the carnaval's end and events begin with the appearance of strange women in various balconies and windows. Once the Sardine procession passes them, they become donkeys and join the party. When they reach the square, the donkeys face a group of farmers who fret about their strange appearance and decide to find out if they are the famous Burras.

That's when the donkeys regain their appearance as witches. The witches then dance with devils, until religious music indicates the presence of the Inquisition. A group of friars, accompanied by a bishop appears. Arriving at the door of the church the bishop then holds an exorcism, hailing the help of Archangel Michael who appears in the sky accompanied by several angels. Battle ensues; the demon is killed and then the bishop orders the burning of witches at the stake, whose flames also serve to consume the sardine.

This struggle between good and evil takes place in the Plaza de San Pedro, Güímar, from 9pm and is followed at 10:30pm by dancing to the Orquesta Tropin until the small hours.

Image of Las Burras Entierro de la Sardina 2012 by Jose Mesa.

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