Spain is popular for several things and activities, like for example football, gastronomy, landscape and of course also because of its extraordinary festivals. The ones you already heard about may include La Tomatina, San Fermín, Las Fallas and Carneval. But there are much more you might not heard about yet. One of the maybe craziest ones is the festival Jarramplas in Piornal.
Every year on the 19th and 20th of January the inhabitants of Piornal, in the region of Cáceres in Extremadura, celebrate the festival Jarramplas for those two days. Jarramplas is the name of a devil-like character, a guy who dresses up in colourful clothes and wearing a conical mask with two horns and a big nose. He goes around the city and people try to hit him with turnips.
Piornal is a Spanish municipality in the province of Cáceres, Extremadura. Extremadura is a region in the west of Spain, with borders to Portugal. The town is located in the community of Valle del Jerte and has a population of around 1550 people.
This festival is an old tradition of which its history is still doubtful. There are three different explanations for its origin, told and believed among the residents of the village. The first one says, that the Jarramplas was a Christian warrior despised by people for passing during the Muslim domination. Myth number two states that the guy was a martyr, which got killed by Jewish for not denying Christianity. The third, and the most commonly believed legend tells the story of a devil-like character, who stole and killed cattle of the inhabitants and got punished for that.
The funnily dressed Jarramplas gets ready for his challenge from the 19th to the 20th of January every year. In the morning he puts on his costume, a colourful armor on his body and a mask, which represents the helmet. Underneath this costume the person puts on protection wear, because the aim of this festival is for the visitors and inhabitants to hit the guy with turnips.
Source: IB Times
The chosen one is every year someone else and always a person living in the neighbourhood. His mission is to make a tour through the streets of Piornal while playing his tambourine. During his tour, the neighbours, inhabitants and tourists punish him by throwing vegetables on him. The Jarramplas tries to resist those hits and his goal is to be able to stand the punishment as long as possible.
Source: IB Times
For the actors of this figure, it has a high importance to keep walking as long as possible, since this festival is very meaningful to the residents of the town. You can recognise the passion for this celebration among all inhabitants. It is such an honour for guys to be Jarramplas, and therefore, parents already sign up their babies for being the figure any day in the future. The waiting list is around 20 years to be able to act as the character.
The importance nowadays
Within the last few years, the festival became a huge hype and gained more interest among national and international people. Hence, the usage of turnips increased extremely during this time and it is estimated, that around 22 tons of turnips are thrown on the celebration each year.
Source: IB Times
Due to the importance of this celebration, the organisers put a lot of effort in the preparation, which includes the design, preparation and conservation of the costume and mask; the engraving of blackjacks and tambourines and the protection of the facades of the town to withstand the rain of turnips.
Jarramplas has become one of the most recognizable festive icons of Extremadura and the most internationally famous character of Valle del Jerte. Tradition, excitement and joy flood Piornal every January inviting the visitor to delve into the rites, stories and legends of this ancient and curious festival now turned into a Festival of National Tourist Interest.
To get the ultimate and most authentic experience of this Spanish tradition get there and attend together with indigenous people the amazing flair of the festival. If you have interest, contact us for more information and check out our tailored package for Jarramplas.