Parachutists from the Spanish air forces parachute acrobatics squadron will fly a giant papier mache sardine into Murcia on Thursday 20th of April, weather permitting.
Part of the Spring Festivals in Murcia, the fiesta is named El Entierro de la Sardina. The Entierro is the victory of Don Carnal over Doña Lent. A pagan festival with its origins in mythology and fire.
The origin of the Entierro de la Sardina goes back to the mid 19th century when a group of students from Madrid decided to form a funeral procession presided over by a sardine, to revive the carnival festival held in Madrid on Ash Wednesday. The sardine symbolises fasting and abstinence.
Throughout the year the so-called sardine groups (Grupos Sardineros) make preparations for the party. They appoint each year a “Great Fish” and a “Doña Sardina”, honorary titles that symbolically presided during the festivities.
On Saturday morning April 22, 2017 on the Boulevard Alfonso X el Sabio an informal parade takes place.
The night before the parade Doña Sardina, represented by a woman, usually a journalist chosen by the Sardineros, reads the Last Will and Testament of the Sardine from the balcony of the town hall, making humorous references to public events and characters.
The first part of the parade has brass bands, dancers, musical groups, a Chinese style dragon, people on stilts, giants and people wearing huge heads (cabezudos).
The second part is made up of floats dedicated to the Olympian Gods, which accompany the Sardine until it is burned next to the Town Hall.
Toys are thrown to the crowds by the Sardineros from the floats including balls, swords, dolls, dart boards, sweets, board games and thousands of whistles. Fights for any toy are part of the celebration.
The night of madness includes with fireworks, music, brass bands, semi naked dancers, floats, carnival groups, hachoneros who guard the floats and a concert of whistles. The burning of the sardine will take place next to the Old Bridge.