Imagine Easter without eggs, Christmas without turkey and bank holidays without transport strikes, it’s just not right. Arona council has done worse than that, this years Los Cristianos Carnaval will be without a sardine funeral. The council have shot themselves in the fin by refusing permission for the traditional riotous end of Carnaval, due, they say, to the financial crisis.
Vecinos de los Cristianos, the neighbourhood association are furious. Tourism times are hard and the mock funeral parade to the beach, complete with cross dressing wailing widows, comedy clergymen and the huge papier mache sardine, is one of the biggest crowd pullers of the year.
The bad news almost went unnoticed, the official Carnaval programme and posters only hit the streets a few days ago and bear the dates 5 March to 14 March. Many publicity outlets assumed that Monday 15 March had just been missed off, after all the funeral follows the Sunday Coso parade like night follows day and always has done.
The sardine funeral is often referred to as a burial but ends with the sardine being cremated on the beach amid a cascade of fireworks. The whole thing started as a rebellious two fingers to the Catholic church following Lent. During the Lent period meat eating was always banned by the church, but they turned a blind eye to their wealthy friends and benefactors indulgencies, leaving the poor people to forage for sardines.
In the back waters of Los Cristianos feverish plans are being made. I have an inside source, for the purposes of secrecy and outrageous mystique lets call him John West, he insists that a rebel sardine will appear on Monday night. That might cause quite a stink, police co-operation would normally be needed to close roads and clear parked cars on the route from the cultural centre to the beach. All this is against a backdrop of proposed industrial action by the Arona Policia Local, which has twice been headed off at the last minute in recent weeks.
It would be shocking if this slice of history was sunk without a trace, Tenerife Magazine will be throwing fishnets over the Los Cristianos area on Monday night, ready for a big fish or a tin of tuna. One thing is for sure, this year fins ain’t what they used to be.