Are you planning to visit Spain anytime soon? Well, you should know that Spain is a country full of tradition, some of them a bit weirdo, but the people are so open-minded and cheerful as if it were a party every day. And it is.. almost.
Spanish people invented a multitude of crazy parties to celebrate and enjoy life. Depending on the zone of Spain you’re traveling to and the season of the year, there’s a different festival or party you can be part of. Let’s discover some of them!
1.Batalla Naval (Vallecas, Madrid)
Naval Battle of Vallecas district in Madrid is a street party representing a way to cool off from the intense summer heat with some groups of friends. They throw water at each other with buckets from balconies and/or water guns.
It is celebrated on the Sunday of the second or third weekend of July, included in the popular festivities of the Virgen del Carmen. The number of participants has gone from 3000 people to more than 12000 over the last few years.
The party was canceled in 2020 due to Coronavirus.
2. La Danza de los Zancos (Anguiano, La Rioja)
The dance of the stilts it’s a festival with religious symbols that appeared in written references in 1603. It is celebrated on July 22. This dance is performed right after the religious ceremony in honor of Mary Magdalene, patron saint of Anguiano.
8 young people from the village dance around, twirling and whirling, to the rhythm of traditional pipes and drums, while wearing wooden stilts of approximately 50 cm high. They wear wide skirts that open when turning and vests made up of 7 colored stripes, blue belts, white socks, black pants, espadrille and hold castanets in their hands.
3. Els Enfarinats (Ibi, Alicante)
The origin of The Floured Ones festival is in Ancient Rome where the slaves took the role of their masters for a day and gave orders. The main characters are the “enmantados” – their role is to criticize the events ocurred during the current year in the city; and the “enharinados” – 14 married people dressed in ragged clothes in bright colours and having the face painted. Mayors, bailiffs, judges. They are the protagonists of the party.
The game consists in throwing flour, eggs and firecrackers between the teams that fight jokingly for the political power of the city.
It is celebrated on December 28 within the festival called Fiestas de Invierno (Winter Parties). The festival was canceled during the Franco era and it was recovered in 1981.
4. Las Guerras Cántabras (Los Corrales de Buelna, Cantabria)
The festival was first celebrated in August 2001 and it is based on the confrontations between the Romans and the Cantabrian and Asturian people between the years 29 and 19 before Christ. The Cantabrians and the Asturians were the only ones who managed to resist the Roman attacks during a long period of time. It had to be led by Emperor Augustus due to its difficulty.
It has approximately 1800 people participating in the Cantabrian tribes and Roman troops. The festival attracts a large audience from all over the province on different days.
Las Guerras Cántabras is declared a Festival of National and International Tourist Interest.
5. Desfile de los Ataúdes (As Neves, Pontevedra)
From all the crazy festivals of Spain, The Coffin Parade is the most bizarre festival of all.
It is celebrated on July 29 when people are carried inside a coffin by family and friends. (The people are not dead.) This strange festival has religious symbols. It is held in the small village As Neves in the municipal of Pontevedra in Galicia, because it’s home to the Iglesia de Santa Marta de Ribarteme, the church dedicated to Saint Martha.
The people inside the coffins are people who have had near death experiences that year and they ask the Virgin of Santa Marta for recovery from some type of illness they suffer or for overcoming a difficult moment in their lives.
The first records of this festival date back to 1700.
6. Colacho, “el salta-niños” (Castrillo de Murcia, Burgos)
Another strange festival is El Colacho (devil’s representative). It mixes pagan and Catholic rites and represents the triumph of good over evil, it dates back to 1620.
During the procession, the “devil” runs through the streets wearing a red and yellow mask, insulting and attacking the neighbours with a ponytail. The neighbours put mattresses on the floor with babies born this year in the village so that he jumps over them in wish of good luck for their lives.
It is a Festival of National Tourist Interest and it takes place in June on the Sunday after the feast of Corpus Christi.
7. El Jarramplas (Piornal, Cáceres)
This festival is celebrated on 19 and 20 January every year. El Jarramplas is a character wearing a jacket and pants covered in multiple colored ribbons. He is also wearing a cone-shaped mask with two horns and a large nose.
This character was known as a cattle thief. His intention is to play the drum in order to provoke the neighbours. They throw at him all kinds of greens and vegetables, especially turnips. There is a long list in the village to be El Jarramplas. Holding out for a long time is a source of personal and family pride. Young children are signed up to be El Jarramplas as adults.
*If you enjoyed reading this strange, mindf*cking article, please stay tuned for Part 2.
**If you are eager to know more about other countries’ traditions and culture, I invite you to read this amazing article. You’ll not regret it!
Last but not least, here it’s an astonishing video about bizzare festivals in Spain. Do not miss it!