The last day of the carnival was historically the only time of the year when the church allowed -and people dared - to joke about death. In many Catholic areas this is still today celebrated by the symbolic burial of a sardine, symbolising the meagre food of the forty days of lent (quaresme).
Here in Vilanova it is the Carnival King (el Rei Carnestoltes) who dies on this day, but this year it took longer than usual before he did so. The classic, exaggeratedly solemn funeral procession had been given a totally new shape by the organisers; La Medusa and a number of local actors.
The rites started at La Sala, where what was said to be the Carnival King lay in a lit-de-parade surrounded by living deaths – people dressed up as participants of the typical Vilanova carnival ingredients (la Merengada, les Comparses, el Vidalet etc) but with a touch of death to them. Later, when the funeral procession had reached the Plaça de la Vila, a curious vilanoví (played by Sergi Lòpez) made an autopsy of the dead person, only to discover that it was the body of Vidalot. This is when the real Carnival King (played by Toni Albà; known for his interpretations of his majesty Juan Carlos in Polònia) entered the stage and admitted that he did, in fact, not like the Carnival.
After that revelation followed a show of which I, admittedly, missed the most. I had our two small sons with me and they were not particularly interested in the satire about the political life of this town, but got bored and demanded we went home. Still I dare to say that this was, by far, the biggest positive surprise of the Carnaval de Vilanova 2009.
Now, do not worry - the Carnival is over here as well. The Carnival King who had refused a natural death was assassinated at the end of the show. While he was left to his destiny, the audience was invited to buy sardines to eat (sardinada). And there must have been many families who had that for dinner, as well, because the smell of fried fish followed us all the way home that night.
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Serà difícil de repetir l’èxit de l’Enterro d’enguany, però espero que sigui possible. L’any que vé planificaré millor de la manera que pugui gaudir de l’espectacle. Quan hi ha soroll necessito centrar-me molt per entrendre el català. Simplement no disposo de suficientment capacitat de simultaneïtat per vigilar els nens al mateix temps.
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Support source of information: the print version of Diari de Vilanova
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Technorati tags: Carnival, Catalonia, Festa, Garraf, Penedès, Vilanova