While Spain's tomato-throwing festival, La Tomatina that is celebrated in Bunol every summer is world-renowned the country's other food-centric celebrations are not as well known. The Els Enfarinats and the Jarramplas festivals that are held in December and January respectively, also involve food fights, except the produce being thrown, is not as gentle as tomatoes.
The Els Enfarinats
The Els Enfarinats festival that takes place on December 28 in the small town of Ibi in eastern Spain involves a mock battle between two rival forces. The day begins with an army comprising of married men who call themselves the Els Enfarinats taking over the administration of the town and enforcing some crazy rules. Those that do not comply are forced to pay a hefty fine. After suffering through half a day of torture, a rebel group made up of the town's youngsters declare 'war' on the tyrants. Their weapons of choice? Flour and eggs that the enemies toss at each other with abandon.
Though the locals cannot remember how this crazy festival began, they claim that it is a 200-year-old tradition that was revived in 1981. While the mess and waste of perfectly good food are a shame, there is a silver lining — The money collected from the fines imposed by the Els Enfarinats are donated to charity!
The Jarramplas Festival
The Jarramplas festival in the town of Piornal in western Spain is equally crazy. Held annually on Jan 19-20, the two-day celebration includes festive parades and gourmet food. However, the highlight is the turnip throwing that takes place on the second day.
In this case, a brave resident volunteers to be a Jarramplas or scapegoat. Dressed in a colorful costume and devil-like mask that is also designed to protect him from what comes next, the Jarramplas makes his way through the street announcing his arrival by beating a drum. This is the cue for festival attendees to start pelting him with one of the thousands of turnips provided by local farmers.
Piornal residents, of course, have no idea how this fun tradition began. Some speculate it was to get rid of evil spirits. Others think it signifies the mythological punishment of Caco by Hercules. Then there are those who maintain that it all began after residents used the root vegetables to chase out a cattle thief. No matter what the origin, both festivals have now become revered traditions that will last as long as the residents can get their hands on enough flour, eggs, and turnips!
Resources: theatlantic.com, telegraph.co.uk.travelchronicles-acrossspain.com, eldiario.es