Dodging Turnips At Spain’s Bizarre Jarramplas Festival

Published February 8, 2015
Updated January 30, 2018

At the Jarramplas Festival in Spain, crowds gather to throw rock-hard turnips at a costumed scapegoat.

Bystanders beware! For the people of Piornal, Spain, Saint Sebastian Day calls for a totally bizarre (and virtually inexplicable) turnip-throwing event called the Jarramplas festival. As the festival begins, residents in the western Spanish town gather in the streets, armed with handfuls of rock-solid turnips. Then the Jarramplas arrives.

Horned Mask of El Jarramplas

Source: AP Images

Saint Sebastian Day Festival

People gather at the Jarramplas festival, root vegetables in hand. Source: AP Images

Jarramplas Festival 2015

Source: Marvel Notes

Clothed in strips of fabric, a devilish horned mask, and lots of padding, the Jarramplas beats his drum throughout the city streets, drawing the attention of hundreds. Armed with root vegetables, residents pelt the Jarramplas—aka the scapegoat—as he passes by. Chaos ensues as crowds dodge flying turnips.

Raul Beitas Jarramplas

Attendants help Raul Beites prepare for his stint as this year’s Jarramplas. Source: The Atlantic

Bizarre Spanish Festival

Source: Noticias 24

Costumes from Jarramplas Festival

A man and young boy don the costumes of the Jarramplas. Source: AP Images

Beating Drum in Spain

The Jarramplas beats his drum as crowds gather. Source: AP Images

At the 2015 festival, Angel Cerro Fernandez, Carlos Calle Rodriguez, and Raul Beites Sanchez all represented the Jarramplas. Though the origins of the Jarramplas festival are murky at best, the tradition has continued for centuries as a way to rid the town of evil.

Some people believe that the Jarramplas festival is connected to the mythological punishment of Caco by Hercules, while others think that it has to do with an ancient story of a cattle thief being driven out by his neighbor.

Turnip Throwing in Spain

Source: Reuters

Cornered at Jarramplas Festival

The Jarramplas is eventually cornered near a local church. Source: AP Images

2015 Festival in Spain

Source: The Eye

Turnip Throwing in Spain

The Jarramplas ducks from the onslaught of flying turnips. Source: CNN

Kiri Picone
Bay Area transplant Kiri Picone is a writer and marketer who loves bizarre news and the color purple.