Babylon Idiomas presents 10 Crazy Spanish Festivals where people throw stuff!

I have discovered in the two years I have been living in Spain that sometimes the Spanish do very weird things. My (very British) idea of a festival or celebration involves drink, music, possibly dancing and often a speech. The Spanish like to throw fireworks, build towers out of humans, get carried around in coffins and jump over babies (all things that actually happen in yearly festivals).

I have also discovered that a very large number of Spanish festivals involve throwing things. I have no idea why the Spanish like to throw things so much… but they do! Below is a list of 10 festivals that take place in Spain every year. Let me know what you think of these wacky and uh…weird celebrations:

 1. Most Famous: Tomatina [Bunol]

You may have heard of the Spanish festival where thousands of people throw tomatoes at each other, aka. Tomantina. It’s very popular with tourists from all around the world and the town of Buñol is conveniently located just a few miles away from the beautiful city of Valencia. Initially beginning in 1945 as a protest, Tomantina is now one of Spain’s most famous festivals and provides good messy fun for all. It’s held annually on the last Wednesday of August.

2. Continuing with the fruit theme: La Raima – The Grape throwing festival [Pobla del Duc]

Since the 1930s, every year the end of Harvest has been celebrated by the farmers and other locals with a grape throwing festival. Over the years the festival, like Tomantina, has also become popular with tourists and the now huge crowds are delivered over 60 tonnes of grapes for their throwing fun. It’s another festival that gets very messy!

3. Similar vein: Wine pouring festival [Haro]

The Haro wine festival takes place in the Rioja region of Spain every June. It’s your usual semi-religious wine festival that obviously culminates in the mayor of the town leading a parade, a mass and then people pouring buckets of wine over each others head. As you do….

4. Food fight! Flower and eggs throwing during Els Enfarinats [Ibi, Alicante]

Els Enfarinats is a slightly bonkers festivals were people dressed in combat gear, round around the town like their part of a Guerilla army trying to get money (for charitable causes) from locals and eventually these ‘army people’ let off fireworks and begin to batter people (hehe) with eggs and flour bombs. It becomes a huge food fight and the town gets caked (hehe) in flour.

5. A slightly more acceptable and fun fiesta: Water fight ing [Lanjaron]

Each year at the stroke of midnight, Spain’s biggest water festival begins in the Andalucían town of Lanjaron. People from all over the country charge into the streets armed with buckets of water and water pistols, whilst ladies equipped with hosepipes prepare for battle from their balconies. The liquid onslaught then begins and by the time the whistle blows there is a river running through the village. The dripping participants then do what any decent water fighter would do…they spend the next two days getting drunk and eating ham to recover.

6. We shall start nice before we take a nasty turn: Baltallas de los Flores (Flower throwing)

Every July the Feria de Julio take place in Valencia. The last day is marked with a beautiful parade where the Falleras (a selection of pretty young women dressed in traditional festive Spanish attire) sit on the floats. Handfuls of heavy flowers are thrown at the girls by the crowds. In recent years the girls have protected themselves by batting the flowers away with tennis rackets. A fun festival for all the family.

 

7. Cascamorras, the festival where you throw a black watery tar and paint mixture at people. [Guadix and Baza in Grenada]

If tomatoes and grapes don’t stain your clothes, tar and paint definitely will! The tale tells that in 1490 labourers from Guadix uncovered a statue of the Virgin Mary in some rubble in the town of Baza. The towns argued about who should get to retain the statue and eventually Baza won. Now every September a fun, tourist filled festival takes place where someone from Guadix is chosen to run through the streets of Baza to try and get to the Virgin Mary. Legend has it that if this person can do so without getting dirty, it is said he gets to bring back the statue to Guadix. So to ensure this doesn’t happen the streets of Baza are lined with thousands of people and as the delegate runs through he is covered with the watery black mixture and of course, most of the crowd are covered too!

8. Rags, Mud and Ant throwing festival. [Laza]

For over a thousand years, the festival of Farrapada in Galicia has prepared for the self-restraining period of Lent by throwing rags and ants at each other. The battle begins when someone is hit by a wet muddy rag (how lovely) and then it becomes a bit of a ‘free for all’. Dirty rags are thrown as well as handfuls of mud, each full of ants. Not just any ants… biting ants! To make sure these biting ants that you are to throw at friends and family are on full form, they are previously doused in vinegar which apparently keeps them extra feisty.

9. Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse: Battle of the Dead Rat [El Puig]

As the name, ‘Battle of the Dead Rat’ would suggest, this is a festival where people throw dead rats at each other. The idea is that there are lots of piñadas called ‘cucañas’, half of which are filled with candy. Can you guess what the other half are filled with? Correct…frozen rat corpses. If you are unlucky enough to get a cucaña containing a dead rat, your friends and neighbours will then pick it up and throw it at you. To which you are then expected to pick it up and throw it back at them. This equals hours of very weird Spanish fun!

And finally…

10. I kid you not… Goat tossing festival! [Manganeses de la Polvorosa]

By far the most controversial of the Spanish throwing festivals and you will all be glad to hear, that the festival has been official banned thanks to animal rights groups. However, it is so utterly crazy that I shall tell you about it!

The festival arose when a local priest once had a goat which he took to nearby villages so that the poor could take some milk. One Sunday the goat climbed up the church bell tower and was startled when the bell rung and fell. Luckily the goat was saved by a man with some tarpaulin. So to celebrate the luck of this famous goat… they began each year to test the luck of other goats by throwing them from the top of the church bell tower. You won’t be surprised to hear that these other goats were often not so lucky. Completely bizarre, unbelievably cruel and thankfully, now illegal.

 

So as you can see. Many Spaniards get their kicks by throwing weird things. There are other very crazy Spanish festivals unrelated to throwing, but I’ll save them for another day! If you’ve heard of any other weird festivals where people throw things at each other then please leave a comment as I’d love to know about them.

Saludos,

Blogger: Narelle

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  1. Martin
    790 days ago

    Is that true about the goat?
    Increíble!
    Interesante artículo. Gracias

  2. Roisin
    790 days ago

    wow… just wow…. (0_0)

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