I've listed here a few of the strange Spanish festivals that go on throughout the year. Eh, don't try any of this at home... Really.
Goat Tossing Festival
The local people of the small town of Manganeses de la Polvorosa get together every year on the fourth Sunday in January. To do what? Why to toss goats, of course. The Goat Tossing Festival, in honor of St. Vincent de Paul, has been around so long, no one knows for sure when it started. The festival involves a young man who makes it his mission to find a goat in the village, tie it up and take it to the top of the local church belfry. From there, he tosses the goat over the side where it falls fifty feet to be caught by villagers holding up a sheet of tarpaulin. At least, they're supposed to catch it. I wonder how many times there was an oopsie during the big throw. Even though village officials have banned the event, it continues, anyway. Animal rights agencies complain but their complaints are ignored.
Bonfires of Saint John
Held on the 19th to the 24th of June, this is a popular festival in Spain that involves the lighting of bonfires. While villagers drink hot chocolate, the children take turns running through the bonfires. Weeee. "Hey mom, look! No hands! No legs, either! I fell into the fucking festival fire and now I'm a smoking, burnt stump of crispy flesh. Thanks for insisting I play in your strange and dangerous traditions, mom." No word yet if the children get to drink hot chocolate after offering their "well done but still pink on the inside" bodies for the amusement of the town folk.
The whole week is taken up with festivities that include fireworks displays and contests. Throughout the week, eighty-six women and eighty-six young girls are elected to be the "Beauties" of the bonfires. The beauties then preside over the festival as queens. Fortunately for the queens, they do not have to engage in fire running or acid drinking.
El Colacho (meaning -baby jumping) is a festival held every year on the feast of Corpus Christi. It involves the laying on mattresses all babies born in the previous twelve months. And then, things get even more fucked up when the adult men of the village of Castrillo de Murcia dress up as devils and take turns jumping over babies. Often resulting in injuries (thankfully, it's usually the adults who get hurt) it is believed that the jumping rids the babies of original sin. It also rids them of having a normal functioning brain when a knee cap slams into their soft spot. Pope Benedict XVI has asked the local priests to distance themselves from the festival because it is dangerous and contrary to the Catholic religion. Hmmm... You think? The Catholic religion has enough problems with the priests molesting kids these days.
Again, another religious festival, this one is held on the last Wednesday of every August in the town of Bunol. Nine thousand locals to twenty to forty thousand foreigners go to the town to throw tomatoes at each other in honor of the Virgin Mary and St. Louis Bertrand. The festivities begin with an idiot attempting to climb up a tall greased pole to collect a cooked ham. Once the ham is taken down from the pole, water cannons are fired at the participants. To make things even more fun and bizarre, over a hundred tons of tomatoes are dumped into the streets for throwing. Women are expected to wear white and men are expected to go shirtless. You would think the women would go shirtless, also. Might as well. Anyone caught wearing a shirt inevitably has it ripped off, including women. Tourists tend to be the main target of the locals. Oh boy, now I want to go over to Bunol and join the fun. Nothing beats having your body pounded to a pulp with hundreds of tomatoes and having that acidic tomato juice splattered in your eyes for pure burning dissatisfaction.
This all just goes to show what bizarre lengths people will go to, to appease their gods and make fools of themselves for their religious beliefs. No matter who gets injured or killed in these festivals, the important thing is, is that they praised their saints and God the most freakish way imaginable. I've described only a few of these events going on throughout the year. There are plenty more where they came from (Spain). Needless to say, I have zero desire to go there. There are enough insane people here in the United States to contend with.