ARRIVAL FROM THE OCTOPUS TO THE INSIDE, FROM TEN TO FEST:
To get to the origin and current moment of parties and the trade of “pulpeiras” and “pulpeiros”, clearly from a socio-gastronomic point of view, it is necessary to go back to the religious life of the twelfth century in the municipality of Cea in Ourense, in where the so-called “Escorial Gallego” is located, a Cistercian monastery since 1140, previously founded by Benedictine monks in 1137, called Santa María de Oseira.
Thanks to the rigorous documentation of the founders of this order, we have proof of everything that happened in those times, times in which the power of religious and nobles decided the fate of the rest, to this we can add the popular oral version about the origin and rooted culture around the Octopus.
From here comes the name of a nobleman, Diego Arias, a relevant figure in the history of octopus exaltation. This noble brave captain and servant of Queen Doña Urraca, receives from the crown, for his loyal services, the Coto de Marín, there retired spent most of his life, until distressed by the death of his wife, seeks peace and Monk is freely ordered in this monastery around 1150, renouncing all his assets as the order of the Cister obliges, becoming the abbey of Oseira, with all that that implies. Shortly after, the repentant gentleman enters into a long litigation to recover his property, without success, being confirmed by King Alfonso VII himself, who certifies the belonging of the coastal parish to Oseira.
Thus the Cistercian monks received from the sharecroppers of the coastal towns the payments for the usufruct of the numerous properties belonging to the monastery (houses, cortiñas, vines, …) not only in money (real, maravedíes, ducats), but also in species (cereals, cattle, wine or fishing), among which the Octopus was used. Being then this cephalopod poorly valued gastronomically, its possibilities of dry, semi-dry or cured conservation made it an important part for commercial payments and tithes * to the church.
* (Ecclesiastical Tithes, which in the early Christian etymology was the tenth of the fruits given in offering by the faithful to God, with symbolic reference to the ten commandments).
Another important factor to take into account, is the interest of the monks on the coastal region, for the Advent and Lent seasons, where the supply of fish was necessary, since they could not eat meat, therefore towards the year of 1583 ( 16th century) for these ecclesiastical times, lower prices were established in the port of Marín for the consumption and sale of fresh fish such as conger and hake, among which the octopus was included.
Being large quantities of Octopus the tribute that the monks received from their coastal sharecroppers, they began to distribute the surplus among their Carballiñenses parishioners, for personal consumption and sale, thus creating the “Octopus to Feira”, rooted custom, creating a professional collective dedicated to the direct acquisition, transport and prepared sale of the Octopus at parties and fairs, reaching to this day the ancient trade of “pulpeiras” and “pulpeiros”.
Starting from a monthly fair, which until then had been held in Cea, to trade and collect taxes, concession granted to the monks by King Sancho IV in the year 1286 (13th century), the friars saw the benefit of moving it, towards the third third of the seventeenth century, to the lands of the Monastery, settling on the banks of the royal road in Partovía contributing to the formation of the current Carballiño, thus creating a fair space of important commerce and where the trade of “pulpeiras” was developed and “Pulpeiros”.