Popular saying: Acabar como el Rosario de la Aurora

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To end up like the rosary of the Dawn
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"Acabar como el Rosario de la Aurora"

Acabar como el rosario de la aurora

Saying that this expression is widely used in Spain would be an understatement. It is fair to say that everyone has heard it used when something ends badly, amidst quarrels and fighting. For that reason, many people ask themselves: what happened during the rosary of the Dawn that gave rise to this expression?

There are many theories as to how it came about, but first let’s talk about what a 'rosary of the Dawn' is. Explained simply, a rosary is a prayer in which several series of prayers are sang, while ‘of the Dawn’ refers to a ritual in which the rosary was sang at dawn either around a church or while following a predetermined route.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at several theories on the origin of the expression:

  • It is thought that, during the 19th Century, the parishioners of two rival parishes in Madrid were on one of the narrow streets of the city at dawn and, failing to agree which would pass by first, they ended up fighting each other.
  • Another version of the story goes that in Cadiz, at one time or another, a particularly unruly brotherhood was confronted by a group of law enforcement officers because the noise they were making was disturbing the neighbors.
  • It is also said that in Seville there were bloody disputes in some brotherhoods between the members who wanted to carry the emblems of their group at dawn.
  • And finally, there is another reference to Madrid in which it is said that what happened was that many parishioners who were praying at dawn came across some drunken troublemakers in the street, who insulted and pushed them around.

All these stories have something in common: a confrontation involving a brotherhood of parishioners. This is because it was a time when religion was a very serious matter. It’s funny how times have changed and yet the expression is still in use. One can only assume that the dispute which led to the formation of the expression must have been a memorable one.

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