Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Carnaval & Zaragoza

This past weekend was full of festivities!
Last Friday my school celebrated Carnaval, which is their celebration before lent starts. This particular holiday turns into a big party and is most like our Halloween, with everyone dressing up in elaborate costumes. At the school, the kids were split into the different time eras: Medieval, Prehistoric, Roman Times and 60's, 70's and 80's. That afternoon there was a parade at the school where everyone showed off their costumes and then each class had to perform a chirigota, which is a song. After everyone performed it was time for El Entierro de la Sardina. Earlier in the day each student had decorated a fish scale and on the back of it wrote something that they wish to forget. Most kids wrote about the crisis or Barcelona winning, but then there was the one 'being afraid of Michael Jackson's Thriller video' haha. Once everyone's fish scales were glued on it was ready for the ceremony! All the kids gathered on the playground as the 6th grade boys carried out the sardine and the girls followed behind pretending to weep. Once the sardine was brought out, it was burned along with what everyone wished to forget. (I wished that I would forget English..we will see what happens! :) )

I did some research on where this tradition dates back to and this is what I was able to find:
It dates back to the XVII century, when Charles III, King of Spain, who wanted to celebrate the end of the festival with the commoners, ordered sardines and wine to be served at the countryside picnic. The weather that day was hot, very typical at the time of year, and the sardines began to smell foul due to the heat. The people wanted to get rid of the bad smell and realized the only way to achieve that was to bury them. The king consented to this. The people wept at the thought of no longer getting free food and having to begin the observant period of abstinence.
The burning of the sardine was made popular by Spanish painter Goya in an oil painting of the same name, “El Entierro de la Sardina.”

The next day Maggie, Allison, Justin and I went to Zaragoza to visit our friend Sara! We had a great time seeing Sara, cooking Spanish food and touring the city. Ofcourse, our time together was filled with lots of laughter! It is always wonderful to be able to visit American friends. We just wish we could have brought Sara back to Madrid with us!!!


  1. Jaime,what a thoughtfully written and interesting post. I love that you checked into the history of the celebration. When you say the kids wrote about the "crisis" what crisis are you referring to? The economic/unemployment crisis? Love, Deborah

  2. "Barcelona winning.. Michael Jackson" hahaha. Zaragoza looks beautiful!! The Spanish food you guys made looks yummy too!!

  3. Yes, here in Spain when they say the crisis they are referring to the economy