Fish n batter at Los Cristianos Carnaval

The sardine is dead, he is no more , all that remains is a few ashes blowing on the breeze. Don’t be too upset, the sardine in question was the huge papier mache version paraded through the streets of Los Cristianos to it’s cremation down on the beach amid a cascade of fireworks.


Lessons were learnt from last years event but sadly some bad feeling also carried over. Last years sardine was supported on scaffold poles and so heavy that it had to be dragged through the streets with the help, or hindrance, of some small castor wheels. This meant it was slow and frequently dived on by an enthusiastic crowd. Seeing the scope for danger, the organisers had the sardine on a motorised trailer this time and it worked well, the fish was higher up and easier for the crowds to see, and it moved at a better pace to it’s eventual demise.

Here’s the history for those not up to speed. Carnaval is based around Lent when the church would enforce fasting on the peasants, but at the same time their members and wealthy friends would ignore the guidelines and eat heartily. The peasants were reduced to catching the sardines that were easy to find in the sea, and the funeral of the giant sardine is a defiant 2 fingers up to the church. This is why the funeral procession is accompanied by “mourners” in widows weeds, pretending to howl with tears and throw themselves to the floor in mock grief. Many of the “widows” are men in drag.

This years parade was grander and more colourful than ever but there were some outbreaks of rock and bottle throwing at the police by local youths. Last year police rounded up some rowdy youths in the early hours after the funeral and, according to parents and neighbours, gave them a bit more than a clip round the ear. This prompted a demonstration a few weeks later, and it seems all was not forgotten at this years event.They were isolated incidents and only one youth was detained but the organisers will want to avoid any more of that next year.