With a rich, colourful history that goes back centuries and a fascinating culture, deeply rooted in tradition; it’s no wonder Spain boasts a plethora of incredible festivals. In amongst the carnivals with extravagant street parades; and patriotic celebrations with paella and flamenco dancing, you’ll find a handful of truly bizarre fiestas. If you want to see out-of-this-world events that defy all logic and reasoning; check out these 4 crazy Spanish festivals you won’t believe exist.
4 Crazy Spanish Festivals for Curious Travelers
1. Antzar Eguna
Definitely not one of the best and crazy Spanish festivals for animal lovers. Antzar Eguna translates into “Geese Day.” It takes place during the San Antolín festival in the quiet Basque finishing village of Lekeitio. During this event, the body of a deceased greased goose is strung from a piece of rope, while a boat filled with eager participants sails under. One by one, the partakers jump off the boat and attempt to pull the goose’s head off. Although the rest of Spain has shunned this barbaric part of the San Antolín festival, the Basque region continues to keep the tradition alive.
2. Fiesta de Santa Marta de Ribarteme
Also known as “The Festival of Near Death Experiences”; this holiday is held in the small town of Las Nieves in Galicia. It celebrates the lives of people who almost died. The lucky survivors are placed in coffins which are marched throughout the streets to a small church where mass takes place. Then it’s onto the cemetery where the people occupying the coffins play dead while passersby gawp. It sounds pretty morbid, but there are firework displays and brass band performances to lighten the mood.
3. El Colacho
If you’re a parent with a newborn, you might want to skip this one. El Colacho has been celebrated in Castrillo de Murcia every year as part of the Corpus Christi festival since 1620. And instead of creating beautiful carpets out of sand, salt or petals, like most places that celebrate Corpus Christi, Castrillo de Murcia chooses to do it by getting men to dress up as the devils; and leap over newborn babies in an effort to cleanse them from original sin.
4. Batalla de Ratas
Despite being banned in 2012, locals in El Puig continue to celebrate the Sant Pere festival by throwing dead frozen rats at each other. The tradition began hundreds of years ago, when piñatas filled with fruit and nuts were placed throughout the streets. The sweet goodies attracted rats which would nestle inside then rain down on unsuspecting children who hit the piñatas expecting sugary treats. Today, instead of luring the rats into the piñatas with natural sweets, frozen rats are purposely placed inside some of the piñatas; as a kind of rat Russian roulette.