This tradition was collected from a friend, who was born and raised in Panama City, Panama and is 20 years old. It is about el entierro de la sardina, which translates to English as “the burial of the sardine,” a ceremony that marks the end of the carnival festivities in Spain and some Latin American countries.
She told me that this ceremony consists of a carnival-like parade that mimics a funeral procession with the burning of a symbolic figure, usually a sardine. It is celebrated the Saturday after Semana Santa, or Holy Week, and it represents a metaphorical burial of the past that allows people to be reborn. My friend has attended many of these throughout the years and says it is a very fun experience, as well as a nice metaphor for starting over and she likes that it incorporates her religion as well.
I am from Panama as well, but since I am Jewish, I had never seen or even heard of this ceremony, but it sounds really fun. I’ll make sure to attend one of these when I go back home to visit, since the carnival festivities have always been a very important aspect of Panamanian culture and everyone seems to enjoy them.