Spain's Bizarre Food Festivals

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Els Enfarinats Festival ( Photo Credit: By Fotógrafo Ibi (Fotógrafo Ibi) via Wikimedia Commons

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.

Photo Credit: Jörn Wendland (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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!


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Reading Comprehension (5 questions)

  1. What is Spain's most popular food throwing festival? When and where is it held?
  2. When does the Els Enfarinats festival take place?

Critical Thinking Challenge

Can you think of a way the festivals can be enjoyed without wasting...


Vocabulary in Context

“Those that do not comply are forced to pay a hefty fine.”

In the above sentence, the word hefty most likely means:

(a) heavy; weighty

(b) impressively...

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  • Dennis Sunday, January 28, 2018 at 5:41 pm
    • flowerrainbow
      flowerrainbowFriday, March 31, 2017 at 10:45 am
      everybody is wasting food! I wonder if there are even cupcakes.
      • megacharizardx
        megacharizardxThursday, January 19, 2017 at 9:53 am
        Scrambled eggs are my favorite, why are they wasting them?
        • keylene soto.Thursday, December 15, 2016 at 3:46 pm
          kinda cool but silverstrike i think you are right why are they wasting food.
          • MegatonWednesday, November 30, 2016 at 5:12 am
            • silverstrike
              silverstrikeWednesday, November 2, 2016 at 6:12 am
              why are they wast food !?!?
              • ?Monday, May 2, 2016 at 6:41 am
                why are they throwing there food
                • NyanCat168Thursday, March 31, 2016 at 1:00 am
                  but why are they wasting food?
                  • NyanCat168Thursday, March 31, 2016 at 12:59 am
                    • NyanCat168Thursday, March 31, 2016 at 12:58 am
                      cool!!! 😃😄😛😸👍🏻🐱

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