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  • Writer's pictureLouise Worner

Carnival in Madrid – Ikebana for Children

In Spain, Carnival takes place in late February or early March, usually in the week prior to Lent. It is celebrated with a week of indulgence, celebration and fun before the restrictions of Lent.

At school, children celebrate by wearing fancy dress costumes. While in the city centre, there are parades, musical events, a Masquerade Ball, and street performers.

In Madrid, one of the more unusual ways to mark the end of Carnivale and the start of Lent is the “Burial of the Sardine”. During the ceremony, the “sardine” is accompanied by a burial procession, that winds its way through the streets of central Madrid. The final resting place is the Parajitos (birds) Fountain in Casa de Campo. Once the sardine is laid to rest, a bonfire is lit to banish evil spirits and negative thoughts, the resulting ashes are thought to represent happiness, peace and harmony.


To celebrate Carnival my youngest daughter decided to create a colourful and whimsical ikebana arrangement, using off-cuts of brightly coloured straws.

Threading straws

She thread the straws onto stems of steel grass. She placed the steel grass into two small colourful vases (inexpensive toothbrush holders from a local homewares store).

Placing the steel grass on the kenzans

As the stems of the steel grass were too thin to insert in the kenzans, she placed a straw off-cut on the kenzan and used it to help hold the steel grass. Once she was happy with the form she had made, she noticed that the colourful straws had all slipped to one side. Together we tried different ways of keeping the straws separate. We finally came up with the solution… to wrap a small amount of green floristry tape around the steel grass and gently slide the straws over it.

Adding flowers

To complete the arrangement she added three Daffodils, ensuring they were placed asymmetrically in the vases.

Placing the final flower

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