Monday, December 17, 2007

Burying the sardine, olé!

I continue to make my way through the book about Spanish customs (Fiestas y Costumbres Españolas) published in 1929, and a cracking read it is too (usually at the rate of a page and a half per sitting, as you might say).
But this morning, the cracking read finally cracked me up while I was reading about Carnaval, the three days of insanity before the start of Lent. What loosened my grip on reality was a section headed El Entierro de la Sardina. I was so doubtful that it could really mean (the ceremony of) the Burial of the Sardine that I actually checked the dictionary to see if "sardina" had any other meaning. But no, sardina means sardine, and there really was a ceremony during the Tuesday of Carnaval which involved men dressing up as priests and friars and ritually burying a sardine. I leave you to decide what symbolism is involved here, but I deeply suspect that it is sexual.
What I can say is that John Cleese and the other members of the Monty Python team must have read this book too. It's inspirational.

No comments: