.... all good friends and jolly good companee.” as the words of the old song have it. You can’t keep your inner child down for very long out here, and it does seem an awfully long time since Los Reyes, our last opportunity for a knees-up. Well, not much longer now. Today is the feast of St Valentine, and so we are off out for a meal at our favourite local restaurant. Then next week sees the start of La Cuaresma (Lent), and so on Saturday of this week there will be the Carnival parade through Nerja, our neighbouring town. Fancy dress will be much in evidence, though often scanty despite the cold winter we are having this year, and - so far as the men are concerned - decidedly bawdy. This will be followed on Sunday by El entierro del chanquete, which translates into English as the sardine’s funeral. The marquee set up for Carnival will be pressed into use as a chapel of rest for a large papier-maché sardine. The widow and family, veiled and dressed in black, will receive el pésame (expressions of condolence) from friends and neighbours (i.e. everybody), and the mourners will assemble. The women, including those who have adopted the gender for the occasion will be dressed in the elaborate black and purple funeral attire of yesteryear, and there will be much howling, wailing and downing of the free drinks laid on in the marquee by the town hall. When all is ready, the town band will head the funeral procession playing, alternately, suitable dirges and lively, upbeat ragtime numbers, as the cortege wends its way around the town behind the pall bearers carrying the sardine on their shoulders, arriving eventually at the beach where the cremation takes place.
We then have to wait a whole week until Frigiliana’s own Carnival on the 25th of February, but then the following Tuesday (28th) we get to celebrate Andalucía Day. You may remember that we already celebrated it once already in early December, but the 28th February is the official day recognised and celebrated by the whole of Andalucía; it would be churlish not to join in.