The Tradition of Throwing Turnips At Jarramplas On St. Sebastian’s Day
It’s rare for teenagers to imagine dressing up as a demon cattle thief and being chased through their hometown with more than two tons of turnips.
However, there is no greater honor in the town of Piornal, which is located in the Cáceres province of the Extremadura region in the southwest of Spain.
Celebrated on the date-
The eccentric Jarramplas festival, which has been held for more than a century, is celebrated every year on January 19 and 20 in Piornal. El Jarrampla, whose name comes from the Spanish word arramplar, which means to steal, is the exquisitely costumed protagonist.
Jarramplas refers to a devilish character, a guy who dresses up in fancy clothes and wears a conical mask along with horns on his head and a big nose. He wanders around the city wearing this costume and the participants of Jarramplas hit him with turnips. The person inside the costume wear all the safety gears to avoid any injury as the purpose of the participants is to hit the guy with turnips, as bad as they can.
Apart from the constant pelting from an estimated 25,000 turnips in total, the costume itself weighs 45 to 50kg. Simply put, being the Jarramplas is exhausting.
The turnip-chucking residents, on the other hand, have it pretty good. When they’re not attacking their cone-headed victim, they spend the rest of the day singing traditional songs and enjoying local delicacies such as migas extremeñas, chorizo, cheese and wine.
Who plays the part
Every year a different person from the neighborhood volunteers to play the role of Jarramplas; they consider it an honor to play the character of Jarramplas. You will be amazed to hear that parents have already enrolled their babies to play the character of Jarramplas in the future – the waiting list is for more or less 20 years!
The festival and it’s origin
The festival has been celebrated for ages, being one of the oldest traditions of Piornal, However, the history is still tentative. The locals believe in three different stories related to its authenticity.
‘Some people say that Jarramplas was a warrior who believed in Christianity and he was loathed by people for passing during the Muslim sovereignty.’
• Some believe that Jarramplas simply died as a martyr for not denying Christianity and got murdered by Jews.
• While on the other hand, most believe that he was a pure devil who killed and looted the cattle locals and for that reason, he must be punished.
• One is that it predates Christianity and represents the mythological story of Hercules slaying Cacus, a cattle thief and monster.
• Another is that comes from the indigenous tribes of South America and was brought to Extremadura from returning explorers.
Since all theories are yet to be proven, it remains a mystery.
Where to view Jarramplas Festival
The festival takes place in the town of Piornal, in Extremadura, Spain.
Schedule for Jarramplas – 2024
Thursday, January 18
-7pm concert in the church of San Juan Bautista. Free entrance.
Friday, January 19
-8.30am: request for offerings to the saint
-11am: Jarramplas comes out for the first time
-4pm: Jarramplas comes out and dresses the saint
-7pm: Party in the town at the main square and bars begin to celebrate into the evening.
Saturday, January 20
- 12.00: Singing of “Las Alboras” taking place at the corporativa on Avenida del Valle
- 8.30am: Get together for the second day of the festival
- 10.30am: Jarramplas comes out
- 11am: The Procession, Mass, dressing of exit of Jarramplas
- 1pm: Jarramplas goes around the town streets
- 4pm: Jarramplas comes out
- 4.30pm: Rosary raised from the saint to the throne and the final outing of Jarramplas
How to get to Jarramplas Festival
To participate in the Jarramplas festival, we would advise you to stay in Plasencia as it is a fine city and you can find many other things to do apart from attending the event.
The distance from Plasenica to Piornal is about 25 minutes (23km). You can take the bus which runs 4 times a day and it will cost you around $16.
You can also go around via taxi as it will save a lot of your time. However, taxies will be costlier than any other public transport. An average taxi fare from Plasencia to Piornal one-way will cost you around $30.