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Monday, February 23, 2009 - Carnaval 2009

Carnaval finished this year (2009) with the usual sunday parade of the lagatija (lizard) through the streets to its fiery fate on the beach below Las Gaviotas. I followed it with my camera and have put together a slideshow (click the link) 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 was blessed with beautiful spring weather 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 mache 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. (2009 set off with almost exactly the required 20 minute delay at 12:20 ish) Each year the lizard takes a different form, usually politically incorrect and mocking the towns or the countries dignitaries. This year he was a property speculator who had obviously made off with the black dustbin bags stuffed full of cash.. The bands that accompany the lizard on his last journey alternate their tunes between lively jazz music and mournful dirges and the widows dressed 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 bomberos (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 irreverent carnaval troubadours, before dispersing for the next 12 months. �

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