The Burial of the Sardine procession is probably my least favourite carnaval event on Tenerife. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t like its absurdity; it’s just that it’s a one joke gig – huge make-up wearing sardine followed by shrieking widows flashing plastic penises and mock vaginas. It’s surreal, it’s funny and it’s shocking but after you’ve seen it once the joke’s over really.

I don’t mean to put anyone off going to see it. Lots of people love the spectacle and the widows’ shocking behaviour has the older Canarian women screaming with glee, but the eagle-eyed out there will notice that, in Puerto de la Cruz at least, the best looking widows don’t even join the procession.


Like many of carnival’s events, the real fun lies in the street parties and what goes on after the parades are over. I get more of a buzz seeing a group of burly six foot blokes in black evening gowns and high heels standing outside one of the fishermen’s bars chatting to each other as though it were the most natural thing in the world. Or the gangs of thirteen year old lads in tight sparkling black mini dresses, fishnets and flowing wigs, which they flick back from their eyes just a little bit too convincingly. Quite a few of them look more glamorous than the ‘real’ girls that are with them. A visiting friend was amazed at seeing so many local boys ‘girlied up’ and remarked that lads of that age in the UK would never have enough confidence in their sexuality to dress up in girls’ clothing.  Ha…it ain’t only lads that age. I know plenty of men who wouldn’t.

Whilst most visitors crowd the harbour area waiting for the sardine to be cremated and the subsequent firework display, hordes of young and not so young ladyboys arrive at the carnaval kiosks at the top of Calle Perdomo. It’s here that some of the most imaginative and outrageous outfits are to be seen. And it’s here that we tend to hang about. But not for too long this year as we weren’t in costume and when you’re not in costume it’s impossible not to feel as though you’ve crashed the party.

However this year the sardine did actually manage to surprise us… and we discovered its lair. We were driving to the harbour car park when a policeman stopped us in our tracks. Lo and behold right in front of us the 20 foot long giant fish emerged from its secret den in full make-up and…get this…a plastic mac in case it rained. A fish wearing a mac! How crazy is that?

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Comments
  1. ZephyrLiving says:

    Is the burial of the sardine a metaphor? Is that why widows follow it with plastic vaginas and penises? Hmm. Pondering this (aren’t sardines kinda small?)…whatever the case may be, I’ve obviously lived a sheltered life in some regards.

    Love men in drag. Sardines in macs. Love it, love it, love it.

    • dragojac says:

      Why it´s a sardine I don´t know…giving up food for Lent maybe? But as the whole shebang is about mourning the end of fun and excess and having to give up things you enjoy for Lent (for anyone into that sort of thing)- that sort of exlains the parading of penises and vaginas 🙂

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