The Weirdest and Craziest Festivals Held Around Spain
You'll find a number of odd traditions and practices around the world that have somehow survived centuries of practicing to still see life in the modern age. However nowhere is quite like Spain in its countless bizarre and wacky events that often make you originally just think... why and how did this even start? To having a sudden need to witness such an incredibly unique tradition in person.
The Weirdest and Craziest Festivals Held Around Spain:table of contents
La Tomatina, Bunol
Most people have often heard of La Tomatina, Spain's most famous of its slightly wacky festivals in which everyone gathers for a huge tomato fight where the aftermath often looks like some kind of gruesome genocide has taken place. Held on the last Wednesday of August every year in the town of Bunol, the origins are not completely certain, although most people agree it started from an actual food fight that happened in the markets of the town in 1944.
Huge quantities of tomatoes are thrown in every direction, if you're joining in it's fair to say you're gonna be completely covered head to toe in bits of tomato. A study in 2015 estimated an astonishing 145000 kilograms of tomatoes were thrown during the hour of fruity festivities.
What might be surprising to hear however, is that La Tomatina is one of Spain's tamer celebrations.
Running of the Bulls, Pamplona
Definitely not one for the faint-hearted, the 'Running of the Bulls' is exactly that. Participants will hope to run faster than these prime Spanish fighting bulls otherwise they might get gored by bull horns. The parts of town the bull is allowed to rampage through are clearly sectioned off, with medics and ambulances standing by in case (as is unexpectedly usually the case) of injury. Despite this as you might imagine, the chances of getting injured are quite high, whether it's getting hit by a bull horn or trampled on by the horde of other participants that seem to have shut off their brain while signing up for this crazy and obscenely unnecessary act of bravery. Safe to say we won't be joining in with this one anytime soon.
Baby Jumping Festival, Castillo de Murcia
Where's the last place you'd want to place your precious baby? How about lying them on the road, at the mercy of a slightly deranged-looking man who'll proceed to jump over them while praying he's practiced the hurdles before. While it might seem dangerous and highly irresponsible, it's the tradition for this Spanish town every year in June.
Babies born in the last twelve months are gently laid down on mattresses and given a unique kind of baptism in the form of 'baby jumping'. A man designated as the devil is dressed in an outfit and runs around the town whipping and terrorizing locals in a menacing manner, making his way to the infants where he'll then jump over them. Albeit slightly unorthodox, it's said this practice will cleanse newborns of any sin.
If getting down and dirty is your thing, Cascamorras will be right up your alley. Around 20,000 people take part each year, running around the streets of the small town covering each other in black-colored oil and pastes. The festival involves two towns Guadix and Baza, stating that if a nominated person from Guadix manages to reach a sacred image of the Virgen de la Piedad while still remaining clean, they get to return it to their village. With thousands of citizens armed with oil and smudge however, it's a feat that has never been done for over 500 years the festival has gone on for.
Our winner for the weirdest and most un-explainable festival to come out of the country would have to be Antzar Eguna, there's just no way of explaining this one without it sounding downright crazy. Participants compete to decapitate a goose suspended on a rope above the water by jumping off the rope and hanging from its neck. Why? We have no idea, but this tradition has been ongoing for around 300 years. Having a few screws loose is possibly mandatory for entry, but whose to say.
Festival of Santa Marta de Ribarteme
Translated as the 'festival of near death experiences', the people of As Neves have an odd way of expressing their gratitude for surviving brushing with death. Not only the local residents but people flock from all over the country to this small town on 29th July, to join a funeral procession for those who have had near-death experiences that year, parading them around town in a coffin.
Just a handful of some of the crazy events the Spanish have in their schedule throughout the year, if you're planning to visit the country it's well worth heading there during one of these spectacular festivals. Unlike anything you'll find around the world, it's a shock as to how these crazy spectacles have lasted so long throughout history to still exist today. We're not complaining however, it's entertainment in its purest form.