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Spanish town celebrates bizarre, turnip-throwing festival

 
People throw turnips at the Jarramplas as he makes his way through the streets beating his drum during the Jarramplas festival Wednesday in Piornal, Spain. [Associated Press]
People throw turnips at the Jarramplas as he makes his way through the streets beating his drum during the Jarramplas festival Wednesday in Piornal, Spain. [Associated Press]
Published Jan. 21, 2016

PIORNAL, Spain — Hundreds of people have been running through the streets of a tiny town in southwestern Spain, chasing a fancy-dressed, beast-like figure and pelting it with turnips.

The event Wednesday was part of the bizarre Jarramplas festival, which is held in Piornal each Jan. 19-20.

Following the yearly tradition, a town volunteer donned a costume of multicolored ribbons and a protective devilish mask with horns. He then charged through the streets, beating a drum until he couldn't stand the punishment anymore.

Local farmers supplied some 18 tons of turnips for the festival. Its origins are uncertain but the local tourism office says the Jarramplas figure represents a cattle thief. Others say it has religious roots.

The festival finished later Wednesday with musical and gastronomic celebrations.