According to tradition, a bright holiday begins with the selection of Carnival’s Queen. Preparation for this important event lasts all year long. Public and government organizations choose the island 's most promising contestants; after that experienced fashion designers are working for many months to create their grand costumes. Contestants have to be not only charming and talented, but also very hardy, because often the weight of festive costumes is more than ten kilos.
After selecting the Queen, the street holiday procession is held; it blends in with mass festivities and ends only in the morning of the next day. The other anticipated event of the festival is the parade, which is attended by local residents and visitors of the island. Its members need only to dress in colorful costumes to walk through the streets of the city. The grand parade held in Santa Cruz in 1987 got into the Guinness Book of Records; it was attended by about 240,000 people.
The end of the Carnival is very amazing and heart-stirring. The last day of the festival is called ‘The funeral of sardines.’ The huge figure of fish made of papier-mache is burned on one of the city squares; the process is accompanied by the loud cry of local residents and visitors of the Carnival. This comical and touching ritual signals the end of the Carnival, but the next day locals begin preparing for the holiday, which will be held next year.
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