Benalmadena and Arroyo de la Miel - Fiestas

 

Some pictures from the final Sunday of Carnaval 2007

 

 

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Carnaval is the first big fiesta after the Kings (Los Reyes) have brought the Christmas and New Years celebrations to a close.  In Benalmadena and Arroyo de la Miel the festivities are spread over three weeks.  This year (2007) became the second year running to fall foul of the weather forcing the the closing parade to be aborted, although the party continued in Plaza Mezquita until the early hours (under cover) and Sunday dawned bright and clear allowing the "peoples" parade of the lagartija (Lizard) to go ahead as planned.

Each town and city in spain has its own tradition to bring the carnaval festivities to a close, and in Benalmadena the tradition is to parade a papier mach lizard through the streets with the carnaval king and queen in attendance and any other of the previous nights fancy dress participants who have got up in time for the midday start. (2007 was not too bad by spanish standards as it kicked of less that an hour late)  Each year the lizard takes a different form, usually politically incorrect and mocking the towns or the countries dignitaries.  This year he was in prison garb, wearing a ball and chain and accompanied on the float with black dustbin bags stuffed full of cash, making their disrespect for the Marbella arrestees in the Malaya fraud trials.

The bands that accompany the lizard on his last journey alternate their tunes between lively jazz music and mournful dirges and the widows dreesed in their mourning attire and pretend to wail and scream at the lizards impending doom.  On arrival at the beach in front of las gaviottas he is taken from his trailer and deposited on the sands where he finally "dies" in flames watched over by the bemberos (firemen) who are a new addition to the festivities to make sure that the crowd does not get too close to the flames.  The mourners continue to keen until the lizard passes on and only his ashes remain.  Mourners, the bands and the crowd then make their way to a gourmet tasting of local rustic dishes and to enjot the performance of the irreverant carnaval troubadores, before dispersing for the next 12 months.