Few youngsters dream of dressing up as a demonic cattle thief to be chased via the streets of their residence city and pelted with greater than two tonnes of turnips.
However in the city of Piornal, which lies in the Cáceres province of the south-western Spanish area of Extremadura, there isn’t any larger honour.
On 19 and 20 January yearly, Piornal celebrates the idiosyncratic Jarramplas festival, which has been held for greater than a century. Its protagonist is the exquisitely costumed el Jarrampla, whose title is derived from the Spanish phrase arramplar, which means to steal.
Legend has it that el Jarrampla was a person who got here to the city to steal ranchers’ animals however hadn’t betted on the fierceness of native individuals. As soon as he was noticed, they grabbed the turnips used for cattle feed and unleashed a root vegetable bombardment to drive the thief away.
The Jarrampla character wears a jacket and trousers which are hand-sewn from many various materials over the course of the yr. Beneath them – conscious of the turnips that may strike with the power of small rocks – the Jarrampla wears carbon fibre safety. On his head, he wears a carbon-fibre bolstered masks that’s topped with a pair of horns. After being helped into the costume-cum-armour, the Jarrampla grabs his tamboril (a small drum) and heads out to face the turnip-toting crowd.
Regardless of the attendant perils, there may be by no means a scarcity of candidates for the roles of the two Jarramplas. This yr, in the end, it has been the flip of Ernesto Antonio Salgado and Julio Antonio Rubio Romero, who had been simply 17 after they put in their bids. At present they’re 29 and Ernesto has a level in bodily schooling, whereas Julio Antonio is a mathematician.
Each are thrilled and excited – as is the crowd. Jarramplas was cancelled final yr due to the Covid pandemic. This yr, it has returned with a vengeance: the fiesta has brought on Piornal’s inhabitants of 1,300 individuals to triple over the previous two days, and 25,000kg of fats turnips have been offered by the city corridor.
After surviving his tour of the streets, Julio Antonio provides his father, Antonio, an enormous hug. Even when just for a day, he has been delighted to play the native bogeyman. “For me, the Jarrampla has all the time been like a hero,” he says. “And that’s why having the ability to put on the costume right now is heaven.”
His fellow Jarrampla, Ernesto, will get a great luck-kiss from his girlfriend, Paula, as he ventures out into the hails of turnips to take pleasure in the day for which he has longed for greater than a decade.
Earlier than the first influence, there may be time for a second of quiet reflection.
“It’s very tough to clarify to somebody who’s not from right here that I’ve been ready 12 years to placed on my swimsuit and stroll via the streets of my city to have turnips thrown at me,” says Ernesto.