Erica will be studying abroad at Alcala de Heneres, Spain for the next 4 months. Her blog can originally be found here: http://essaltz.tumblr.com/.
[Originally posted March 5, 2014]
I can not believe it. My program is already half way over and I feel like I just got here!!!! This past week of Carnival, there has been many parades and parties. Earlier this week, I saw a smaller carnival parade and costume contest followed by a live band. Some of the outfits were…well awkward, but hilarious.
Today, I went to the plaza where the parade started, and it was probably the smallest parade line up I have seen. The first float to go through was a large paper fish (a sardine) what was being carried by people, followed by another sardine (just smaller), followed by roller skaters wearing red, black and white, then the final float being a large horse with people and dances on it. I am pretty sure all of Alcala was there to watch the festivities! So there is a story behind this fish.
“The Burial of the Sardine”
Every year, in various Spanish towns and cities, the people celebrate Ash Wednesday (the day before lent begins) by holding a mock funeral and burying a sardine in his coffin as a way of saying goodbye to the festivities. Here are some theories for this strange event:
Many years ago Charles III, the King of Spain, ordered sardines to be served at his carnival party. However, by the time they were to be eaten the small fish were rotten and it was decided that they must be buried to get rid of the smell. His guests mourned the thought of burying their free food and starting the restrictive Lenten period.
Another theory is that the people used to bury a pork rib to signify the giving up of meat during lent. Supposedly, at this time the colloquial name for the pork rib was sardina and at some point people started burying a sardine instead of meat.
Others claim that the sardine is buried to bring luck to all of the fishermen who will be responsible for feeding everyone throughout the 40 days of meatless lent.” – http://www.dream-alcala.com/en/burial-of-the-sardine/