Funerals for Food: Burial of the Sardine

In Spain, a curious festival, Entierro de la Sardina (Burial of the Sardine), marks the end of Lent. It has been speculated that the festival originated during the time of Carlos III, when a batch of rotten sardines arrived in a shipment and had to be buried. The following year, people in Madrid decided to repeat the incident as part of their Ash Wednesday observances. They donned mourning clothes and carried small coffins with sardines in them in a procession. 

The ceremony, which now signifies the end of Carnival, has become a beloved tradition and still takes place in Madrid. 

The ceremony was the subject of one of Francisco Goya’s paintings in 1814, El Entierro de la Sardina. 

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