MALAGA’s carnival week ended yesterday with the traditional burning of a giant anchovy.
The week-long celebrations began on February 23, centring around Plaza de la Constitucion, and ended on Sunday in a massive bonfire on La Malagueta beach.
Prizes were awarded for the best copla music performance, the best paso doble dance and the best comparsa, or group of dancers who took part in the parade on February 24. Drag Queens also competed for the Queen of Malaga crown last Saturday, March 2.
The Carnaval de Malaga traces its history back to the 16th century, when children of the choir were allowed to parody religious festivals, such as Saint Nicolas Day.
After a protracted history, the carnival began again in 1982, and culminates in a bizarre parody of a funeral procession: the burning of a massive anchovy.
The symbolism of the anchovy is supposed to be a purging of laziness, gluttony and abundance, in preparation for the fasting period of Lent.
Similar funeral processions are common all over Spain, but usually the fish of choice is a sardine.
Whether the carnival goers appreciate this religious symbolism and the withstand temptations to indulge on this delicacy for 40 days remains unknown.