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Burial of the Sardine Ash Wednesday 2019

The sardine on the way to its funeral 6 March 2019

What more can be said about the Burial of the Sardine? It's already been described as blasphemous, rude, pornographic. All true. Surreal is also applicable, but even if you put these all together and times whatever vast level of weirdness you then imagined by a thousand, you'd still come nowhere near. And yet it was as safe, friendly and accessible as any other night at carnival (and a whole lot more so than any average Saturday night in a British town.) (Right) just a few regular guys on 'boys night out' at the Burial of the Sardine in Santa Cruz.

It's called the Entierro de la Sardina (Burial of the Sardine) (even though it's cremated) and the 'wailing widows' are blokes in drag who mourn the end of carnival and the beginning of Lent, even though the party carries on for days.

The significance of the sardine - so I was told - is that it represents the return from the anarchy and craziness of carnival, back to the everyday order and everyday food, like sardines. Blame has also variously been pointed at a side of pork and some smelly sardines or a particularly skinny minister in Madrid.

The wailing widows are dressed like tarts, because now they've lost their husband (the sardine), they have no other means of support, so they'll have to go "on the game". And for some reason the "clergy", bless the mourners with dildos.

Does it even have to make sense? It's one of carnival's biggest party nights.

La Laguna Ahora explained that during the "Fiestas de Invierno" (Winter Festival) - the name that carnival had to go under during Franco's dictatorship - they used to have to mess with the calendar to make sure that the sardine's funeral - which was "prohibited" anyway - didn't coincide with Ash Wednesday. Once liberties were regained, the event was restored with enthusiasm.

One year, also symbolically, Guy Fawkes stylee, an effigy of the lawyer who represented the Neighbours' Association in their complaint about the noise of Carnaval was also cremated. OK, so maybe 155 dB - louder than a jet engine roaring 100 feet from your ears - was a bit much for midnight, but their protests fell - pretty literally - on deaf ears. Nobody was going to do away with more than 200 years of the "institution" of carnaval in the streets of Tenerife's capital.

Oh and you'll encounter people with seriously and hilariously impaired judgement. I've no idea what they were on, but impaired enough to come up to this dodgy character (left), request photos with him like he was some sort of tourist attraction and ask "¿Es de verdad?" (Is he for real?) No boys and girls, this 'nun' is my husband in a cheap ebay fancy dress. It did add to my amusement for the night. 

We were able to catch up with my friend Lee de Caires, better known by most for ¡Qué Gran Viaje! - see video below - but alas I didn't stay for the sardine's cremation as I had nasty flu. At least that gives me a good excuse to go back again another year, doesn't it? 

In Santa Cruz, the the funeral procession leaves from the Calle Juan Pablo II at around 9 pm, taking a route through Méndez Núñez, Pilar, Villalba Hervás, La Marina and ending up in the Plaza de España, for the burning of the sardine.

Tenerife Land of Eternal Christmas

Sunbathing SantaDesert Island ChristmasScuba Diving SantaTropical Santa
Santa's Having a Whale of a TimeSurfing SantaWaterski SantaCamel Rodeo Santa
With a wide range of products in each design, click the pics (above) to see the full selections.