Burial of the Sardine on Ash Wednesday 6 weeks before Easter


There is a tradition in Alicante that occurs on Ash Wednesday every year called “El Entierro de la Sardina” which translates to “the burial of the sardine”.

There are large groups of people who dress up in black clothing and mourn the death of the sardine. They parade through the streets of Alicante with a symbolic large “Sardine”.

The parade works its way through the streets and finishes in la Plaza del Carmen in the old quarter of Alicante.

We went to the Plaza del Carmen and waited for the Parade to arrive. When the Sardine parade arrived there were people dressed in mourning and others wearing devil horns. We watched as they assembled the base and mounted the sardine for the funeral.

     

Before they burn the sardine a “priest” goes on stage and recites a prayer. The prayer is symbolism of different endings for food and drink in preparation for lent. The sardine is the symbol of the past festivals and enjoyment of drink and food. The death of the sardine represents the beginning of lent.

 

We managed to get to the front of the group and watch the ceremony up close. It was an amazing thing to see. People were shouting the recital of the prayer “Libra por la Sardina” and one member had a lit torch at the ready for the burning.

After the “prayer section was done they started playing drums and lighting fireworks flares and danced around the base of the sardine. The flares made lots of noise and sparkles which they sprayed on the base of the sardine.

There was a lot of smoke from the fireworks and a tremendous amount of noise. The atmosphere was very exciting and it was a surreal event. We were at the very front of the group and had a perfect view of the burning.

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