How Bizarre

You’ve got to love this odd story spotted online this morning – Spanish town celebrates bizarre, turnip-throwing festival.  Hundreds of people have been running through the streets of a tiny town in south western Spain, chasing a fancy-dressed, beast-like figure.  A local volunteer dressed in a costume of multi-coloured ribbons and a protective devil-like mask with horns, charged through the streets beating a drum, whilst spectators pelted turnips at him.  Local farmers supplied 18 tons of turnips for this annual event called “Jarramplas” which takes place in Piornal.  Its origins are questionable, however, the local tourist office says that the “Jarramplas” figure represents a cattle thief, whilst other residents say the festival has religious roots.  Wednesday’s event concluded with musical and gastronomic celebrations.

The idea of having a festival like this during January strikes me as a brilliant idea – it would be something to look forward to during the dark winter days, as January is the bleakest month in my view.  Not only that, this event involves plenty of physical exercise, specifically running and throwing.  Again, all good for an outdoor winter festival on what could easily be a bitterly cold day.  And the fact that this celebration concludes with music, food and drink makes it an absolute winner.  What better way to end a winter’s day spent outdoors than stuffing one’s face with hot, delicious food whilst tapping one’s toes to some great tunes?

The more I think about it, the more I reckon it would be an excellent January calendar date to implement in my native Lincolnshire.  It’s a very quiet month socially, and the weather here can be either freezing or pouring with rain.  And we’ve got mountains of turnips, sugar beet and huge spuds heaped up in fields all around the county, just waiting to be hurled at some bloke dressed up in outlandish gear.

We’d obviously have to re-name this festival.  Historically, there have always been cattle thieves in the British countryside.  Nowadays they steal sheep, cattle, horses, pigs, agricultural machinery; anything that can be moved or lifted in fact.  It might be an idea to make good use of some of the currently convicted perpetrators; one criminal could be selected at random each year to do the dressing up and the running.  Of course he would also be the one to take the vegetable beating.  Perhaps it would serve as a deterrent to future potential countryside pillagers, especially if the event were to be promoted as such.  I’m thinking maybe “Rustler Rapping” or “Rural Head-Rolling Day”.  I can see it now.  What fun.

APTOPIX Spain Jarramplas Festival
Throwing turnips at the Jarramplas Festival, Spain, January 2016

(Original story and image courtesy of Yahoo News)

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