Murcia City comes alive to the rhythm of the drums, trumpets, music and carnival floats as they celebrate one of the most varied and vibrant parades you will ever see, The Burial of the Sardine.

Awarded International Tourist Status, the “Burial of the Sardine” (Entierro de la Sardina) is a Spanish ceremony celebrating the end of carnival, Easter and other spring festivities. Normally celebrated just after Ash Wednesday, which marks the start of Lent and abstinence, the Burial of the Sardine carnival is the last chance for mischief and over-indulgence. The “Burial” generally consist of a carnival parade that parodies a funeral procession and culminates with the burning of a symbolic figure, a giant sardine.

The origins of the tradition of the burial of the sardine are contested, but one main school of thought is that King Carlos III, who, in the 18th century, kindly donated a shipload of sardines to his loyal servants to give them a treat before the start of the 40 days of Lent. Unfortunately the king’s plan went somewhat awry as the fish was already beginning to go off on arrival, so according to legend, it was decided to bury the rotting fish.

The parade is several kilometers long and consists of two distinct parts; beginning with the funereal procession featuring brass bands and headed by a huge effigy of a sardine, followed by giants and big-heads, huge floating whales, octupii and dragons, plus the dragon of Conte that for decades has impressed spectators by throwing fire from it’s mouth, dancing ladies, circus performers, groups dressed in various forms of fancy dress and everything you can image to be in a parade. After about 4 hours of amazing parading, the next section of floats are dedicated to the Gods of the Olympus and these floats throw thousands of toys, of all imaginable forms, to the excitable crowds

Whatever the origins of this strange and magical event, it is well worth watching and is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating and unusual of the local traditions held during Carnival time.

Murcia is approximately 40 minutes from Casa Rural Ubeda