By Maggie Deffense & Enrique Díaz
Is Spain a country with a weird cultural tradition? Well, as a Spaniard I would say that the answer should be 'not really'. As a visitor you would probably agree with that answer, except if you happen to land into one of the following weird Festivals!
El Colacho (Baby Jumping by the Devil)
There is nothing in life that you adore more than you kids, your little babies. Now take your babies, lay down them on the ground and allow the devil to jump over them.
This is the argument of El Colacho. This uniquely Spanish festival sees men dressed up as the devil (colacho) in red and yellow costumes, form a queue to leap over a mattress laden with babies born during the previous 12 months.
The ceremony is said to rid the babies of original sin and guard them against illness. This is one of the many Corpus Christi festivals held all over Spain on the first Sunday after Corpus Christi.
Festival of the Nearly Dead
Those who have had a brush with death in the past year are carried through the streets in coffins to thank Saint Marta de Ribarteme, the 'patron saint of death'.
Those that don’t have friends or family to carry them have to carry their own coffins. Rather sad. However, in true Spanish fashion everyone rejoices with music, food and drink and the telling and re-telling of their near-death experiences!
Human Tower Building Competition
The city of Tarragona in Catalonia celebrates the world's biggest human tower building competition, every other year.
The tradition of building these astonishing 10 meter-high human towers has a long history in this region, dating back to the 18th century.
As you can see, towers are made of people standing over other's shoulders and finally a small child climbs to the tip of the trembling tower (you can see one this kid climbing half way the tower in the photo above).
Human towers have a remarkable aesthetic and they are a sample of human achievement over the physical laws. In fact, human towers have been declared an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO.
At the same time, we can stop thinking about the amount of weight the guys at the bottom are supporting, and how someone can feel when climbing over three or more floors of a not stable stair of humans. Absolutely insane!
Tamborrada, Drum Festival
Tamborrada of Donostia is a celebratory drum festival held every year on January 20 in the city of San Sebastián, Spain.
At midnight, at the Konstituzio Plaza in the Old Town, the mayor raises the flag of the city. The festival lasts for 24 hours. Participants, dressed as cooks and soldiers, march in companies across the city.
The origins of the celebration are not clear.
According to the most popular version, the tradition was started at the beginning of the 19th century, when Napoleon's troops invaded San Sebastian and the local women would mock the French soldiers who marched around the city streets by banging buckets.
Maybe you think that a drum festival is not so weird. Go there and experience that loud drum sound continuously non stop for 24 hours and send us your feedback.
Running the Bulls or Running Whatever
Sure you've heard about running the bulls, during the San Fermin Festival, where people run in front of big bulls through the old town of Pamplona.
This event, where runners risk their life, is weird enough to put in this list, but keep reading because it will get even more surreal.
Perhaps because using bulls as entertainment (that later in the afternoon will end sacrificed in the bull ring) is harming the sensitivity of more and more citizens, a trend of Running Whatever is becoming the new thing. A couple of examples:
Running the Bus
In Torralba de Ribota (Aragón), at the end of the local festivity, people run in front of the public bus that leaves at 8:00AM. I know you don't believe us, but have a look at this video:
Running the Ball (Boloencierro)
In this case, locals from Mataelpino, not very far from the capital Madrid, decided to run in front of a heavy giant ball. Supposedly, the replacement of the bulls is because the ball was cheaper than the bulls (at the end, they are not stupid). Also in the first editions they used a heavy ball of about 200kg but after several people got seriously injured they replaced the ball with something lighter, just 30kg rolling towards you. Still, in 2019 the major of the town broke his collar bone trying to avoid the ball.
Do you know of any other weird and wonderful festivals in Spain? Let us know in the comments below, or share your story right here!
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