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Jarramplas in Piornal: turnip madness

Extremadura has plenty of unusual festivals and traditions, but they don't come much odder than the fiesta of Jarramplas in Piornal. It is the highest village in Extremadura at 3,855 feet above sea level. They have snow ploughs here, and use them to transport nabos, or turnips. Jarramplas is the devil-like character portrayed by one brave chap who dresses up in multi-coloured armour and a horned helmet. He looks like a human piñata. On two days around the festival of San Sebastian every January he runs through the streets beating a drum while villagers pelt him with several tons of turnips. Nobody seems to know exactly why, but it probably derives from an ancient punishment for livestock thieves, and it draws on pagan and Christian traditions. It's the angry mob stoning a heretic, except that there are strict rules about where and when you can throw your turnip. Who on earth would want to be

Jarramplas? Well, you have to have been born in Piornal to apply and apparently there's a waiting list until 2046. Andy braved sub zero temperatures and high velocity root vegetables to bring you these shots.


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