Carnaval in Nerja
This afternoon we went down to Nerja for the last day of Carnaval, el entierro del chanquete (the anchovy's funeral). Carnaval is a three day festival which ushers in La Cuaresma or Lent as we know it in English. Friday saw the children's fancy dress parade through the streets of the town, followed in the evening by the selection of Carnaval princesses, a Carnaval Queen and a Carnaval Prince.This is also the evening when various groups of singers, ranging from quartets to full-blown choirs compete in the singing of satirical songs about local characters, politicians and issues.
Saturday is the day of the main parade of adults in fancy dress accompanied by more music. The participants are judged in different categories with prizes for the winners. However, to claim their prizes the winners have to take part in the funeral ceremony. A marquee had been set up in the new Plaza Nueva, and the chanquete - in reality a tiny fish, but here about six feet long and constructed out of papier maché - rests on its bier awaiting the start of the procession. The widow and her retinue, prostrate with grief, receive the condolences of all before setting off through the streets on the chanquete's final journey. The town band follows the bier playing, alternately, funeral dirges and bouncy, popular tunes, the mourners by turns desolate and exultant. Finally the cortege arrives at the beach by the Balcon de Europa, where to the accompaniment of fireworks, fuses concealed within the chaquete are lit and the poor departed fish is blown to smithereens. Then it's into the serious time of Lent.
Except up the hill in Frigiliana, where our carnaval doesn't happen until next weekend when Lent has already started