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Sunday, 24 February 2008

The Funeral at Last!

Last night I went to the delayed Sardine's Funeral in Los Sauces. I finally discovered why people say it's better than the sardine's funeral in Santa Cruz.

They say it because it's true.

The crowd was far bigger than in Santa Cruz, and over half of them wore fancy dress - mostly Halloween theme costumes. This is my hairdresser. I didn't recognise him until he spoke.

First they had a butaca - serious percussion. I took a lot of video, but there wasn't much light and most people were wearing black, so it's not brilliant. I need to learn to edit video.

At the end of the butaca it poured with rain for about ten minutes. Imagine a couple of thousand people all looking for shelter and saying, "Oh no!" all at once. Thankfully it stopped pretty quickly.

Then I wondered about for a bit and had a beer (alcohol free - I was driving).

Then the sardine appeared.

Now in Santa Cruz its a funeral procession, and the mourners are wailing with fake grief, but they're walking in a dignified way.

In Los Sauces, the sardine is being tossed around as though it's on a rough sea. The pall bearers really work up a sweat. I found out the hard way that it gets a fair bit of momentum - the guys at one side can't necesarily stop just because they're going to crash into a photographer. I was glad I only took the compact camera. And the mourners jog and pogo and screech like banshees. It's like Santa Cruz used to be, only better. Monty Python eat your heart out. What's more, there were a couple of smaller sardines brought by groups of kids. The sardine goes around the square twice, and then through the back streets towards the huge new bridge, back along the main street, round the square twice again, and finally onto the bier in the square. The kids' sardines went under the bier.

Of course it ends with the sardine being cremated. And in Los Sauces, the crowd doesn't just watch and cheer. They pogo and boogie and scream again. And there are lots more fireworks.

By then it was one in the morning, so I didn't stop for the public dance. I just ate a sandwich and went home.

Next year I'm going back, and I'm definitely dressing up.

I'll post some video when I've editied it.

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