Photographer: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images
Travel

A Turnip to the Head: The Mythological Jarramplas Festival in Spain

For centuries, on Saint Sebastian Day, the streets of Piornal, in Spain's Cáceres province, are trekked courageously by the Jarramplas. Turnips in hand, the residents of the municipality wish only to punish the devilish character, pelting him again and again. The Jarramplas takes the beating, walking through the alleys while beating his drum. The exact origins of the ceremony are unknown, but theories exist that recall the punishment by Hercules of a mythological cattle thief named Caco.  Photographs by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

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    A man holds turnips to throw at the Jarramplas.

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    Doors and windows are boarded up during the festival. 

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    Stewards dress up Jarramplas, Armando Vicente Vicente, 30, before he makes his way through the streets.

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    A boy dressed as the Jarramplas watches while women sing during mass at a church in Piornal, on Jan. 20.

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    Vicente puts on his body armor before heading out. 

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    People throw turnips at the devilish Jarramplas.

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    The Jarramplas is generally believed to symbolize the purge of all bad things.

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    Turnips are thrown at the Jarramplas as he comes out from the church and beats his drum.

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    A boy dressed as the Jarramplas kisses a figure of Saint Sebastian at a church.

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    Stewards lift Vicente as the crowd applauds him.