This time of year, brings the traditional Carnival celebrations, marking the start of the Christian Lent and for many the first budding of an early Spring.
In Spain, the Carnival has deep and in many instances pre-Christian roots of a festival marking the end of winter and the triumph of the light over darkness.
Madrid´s celebrations, which until recently have been lower key than many others in Spain, including the famous week-long festivity of excess in Cadiz, has gained in popularity over recent years.
After last year´s pandemic induced hiatus Madrid, will be roaring back with festivities from the 25th February till mid-March with activities for all the family and streets filled with music and laughter.
The full programme of Madrid´s carnival events can be seen BELOW
The highlights include a Carnival Parade, the wonderful Masked Ball at the iconic Circulo de Bellas Artes as well as Madrid´s unique “Burial of the Sardine” procession.
The Burial of the Sardine is the traditional marking in Madrid of the end of the Carnival festivities and the first day of the Lenten Sacrifice season.
In Goya´s famous painting of the procession, which can be seen in the Prado Museum, masked and disguised revellers are seen dancing their way to the banks of the River Manzanares, where a ceremonial sardine is buried, overseen by the “darkly grinning King of the Carnival”.
Today the same burial procession is taken, and which starts at Plaza de San Antonio de la Florida, goes along the bridge across the River Manzanares and winds its way to its final destination where the sardine is buried in the Pajaritos Fountain at Plaza de las Moreras in the Casa de Campo.
After the burial, a bonfire is lit to close the ceremony, symbolising that all evil has been driven away with the remaining ashes representing “the happiness, peace and harmony” of the Madrileños.
This year´s procession will take place on Wednesday 2nd March.