Years ago, people used to have carnivals to get all the partying out of their system before the serious business of Lent. This being back in the day when the Catholic Church could burn you if you looked at them wrongly.
This then got twisted with the marine version of harvest festival, mainly the sardine run which used to happen around this time of year. So along with the carnival, we got the whole business of asking for God’s permission to catch as many sardines (and other sundry fish) as we wanted. For diverse reasons involving nobody wanting to look too closely at Catholism in case they got burnt alive, this developed into a procession carrying Saints around and ending in people either burying or burning sardines on the beach, to appease Neptune and Yehovah. Don’t get this confused with San Juan during late summer when they have bonfires and again burn the sardine.
Sardines being expensive, this little tradition evaporated during the Franco years. People had better things to do with food than bury it on the beach. Let’s do it once a year, was the consensus.
But, it’s back. Almeria city is burying the sardine. Turre has buried the sardine. Why Turre? It’s not a fishing village, it considers itself to be a bloody mountain village! Garrucha has buried the sardine. And everybody is proud of the fact that they’re bringing back “the old ways”.
And if I get one more smug press release about “burying the sardine” and bringing back “the old ways”… I may well delete it.