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AP PHOTOS: Town fest sees thief figure pelted with turnips

Associated Press logo Associated Press 1/19/2017 By IAIN SULLIVAN and DANIEL OCHOA DE OLZA, Associated Press
People throw turnips at the Jarramplas as he makes his way through the streets beating his drum during the Jarramplas festival in the tiny southwestern Spanish town of Piornal, Spain, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2017. Dozens of people ran trying to pelt a beast-like figure representing a farm thief with, appropriately, tons of turnips. The so-called Jarramplas festival centres around a town resident dressed up in a colourful costume and a horned helmet. The Jarramplas has to dance around the village facing a vicious onslaught of oversized turnips hurled at him by mobs of locals. Some 20 tons were to be used this year. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza) © The Associated Press People throw turnips at the Jarramplas as he makes his way through the streets beating his drum during the Jarramplas festival in the tiny southwestern Spanish town of Piornal, Spain, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2017. Dozens of people ran trying to pelt a beast-like figure representing a farm thief with, appropriately, tons of turnips. The so-called Jarramplas festival centres around a town resident dressed up in a colourful costume and a horned helmet. The Jarramplas has to dance around the village facing a vicious onslaught of oversized turnips hurled at him by mobs of locals. Some 20 tons were to be used this year. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)

PIORNAL, Spain (AP) — Dozens of people ran through the streets of this tiny southwestern Spanish town Thursday trying to pelt a beast-like figure representing a farm thief with, appropriately, tons of turnips.

People throw turnips at the Jarramplas as he makes his way through the streets beating his drum during the Jarramplas festival in the tiny southwestern Spanish town of Piornal, Spain, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2017. Dozens of people ran trying to pelt a beast-like figure representing a farm thief with, appropriately, tons of turnips. The so-called Jarramplas festival centres around a town resident dressed up in a colourful costume and a horned helmet. The Jarramplas has to dance around the village facing a vicious onslaught of oversized turnips hurled at him by mobs of locals. Some 20 tons were to be used this year. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza) © The Associated Press People throw turnips at the Jarramplas as he makes his way through the streets beating his drum during the Jarramplas festival in the tiny southwestern Spanish town of Piornal, Spain, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2017. Dozens of people ran trying to pelt a beast-like figure representing a farm thief with, appropriately, tons of turnips. The so-called Jarramplas festival centres around a town resident dressed up in a colourful costume and a horned helmet. The Jarramplas has to dance around the village facing a vicious onslaught of oversized turnips hurled at him by mobs of locals. Some 20 tons were to be used this year. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)

The so-called Jarramplas festival, celebrated every Feb. 19-20, centers around a town resident dressed up in a colorful costume and a horned helmet. The Jarramplas has to dance around the village facing a vicious onslaught of oversized turnips hurled at him by mobs of locals. Some 20 tons were to be used this year.

People throw turnips at the Jarramplas as he makes his way through the streets beating his drum during the Jarramplas festival in the tiny southwestern Spanish town of Piornal, Spain, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2017. Dozens of people ran trying to pelt a beast-like figure representing a farm thief with, appropriately, tons of turnips. The so-called Jarramplas festival centres around a town resident dressed up in a colourful costume and a horned helmet. The Jarramplas has to dance around the village facing a vicious onslaught of oversized turnips hurled at him by mobs of locals. Some 20 tons were to be used this year. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza) © The Associated Press People throw turnips at the Jarramplas as he makes his way through the streets beating his drum during the Jarramplas festival in the tiny southwestern Spanish town of Piornal, Spain, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2017. Dozens of people ran trying to pelt a beast-like figure representing a farm thief with, appropriately, tons of turnips. The so-called Jarramplas festival centres around a town resident dressed up in a colourful costume and a horned helmet. The Jarramplas has to dance around the village facing a vicious onslaught of oversized turnips hurled at him by mobs of locals. Some 20 tons were to be used this year. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)

The origins of the festival are uncertain but there is general understanding that a thief was once hounded out of the village by a rain of vegetables.

People throw turnips at the Jarramplas as he makes his way through the streets beating his drum during the Jarramplas festival in the tiny southwestern Spanish town of Piornal, Spain, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2017. Dozens of people ran trying to pelt a beast-like figure representing a farm thief with, appropriately, tons of turnips. The so-called Jarramplas festival centres around a town resident dressed up in a colourful costume and a horned helmet. The Jarramplas has to dance around the village facing a vicious onslaught of oversized turnips hurled at him by mobs of locals. Some 20 tons were to be used this year. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza) © The Associated Press People throw turnips at the Jarramplas as he makes his way through the streets beating his drum during the Jarramplas festival in the tiny southwestern Spanish town of Piornal, Spain, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2017. Dozens of people ran trying to pelt a beast-like figure representing a farm thief with, appropriately, tons of turnips. The so-called Jarramplas festival centres around a town resident dressed up in a colourful costume and a horned helmet. The Jarramplas has to dance around the village facing a vicious onslaught of oversized turnips hurled at him by mobs of locals. Some 20 tons were to be used this year. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)

Only residents from Piornal can be a Jarramplas and it is an honor to be chosen from the decade-long waiting list.

A man holds up a turnip at the Jarramplas festival in the tiny southwestern Spanish town of Piornal, Spain, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2017. Dozens of people ran trying to pelt a beast-like figure representing a farm thief with, appropriately, tons of turnips. The so-called Jarramplas festival centres around a town resident dressed up in a colourful costume and a horned helmet. The Jarramplas has to dance around the village facing a vicious onslaught of oversized turnips hurled at him by mobs of locals. Some 20 tons were to be used this year. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza) © The Associated Press A man holds up a turnip at the Jarramplas festival in the tiny southwestern Spanish town of Piornal, Spain, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2017. Dozens of people ran trying to pelt a beast-like figure representing a farm thief with, appropriately, tons of turnips. The so-called Jarramplas festival centres around a town resident dressed up in a colourful costume and a horned helmet. The Jarramplas has to dance around the village facing a vicious onslaught of oversized turnips hurled at him by mobs of locals. Some 20 tons were to be used this year. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)

Mario Sanchez, who has a degree in business administration but is unemployed at the moment, speaks with passion and pride about being one of this year's Jarramplas.

People throw turnips at the Jarramplas as he makes his way through the streets beating his drum during the Jarramplas festival in the tiny southwestern Spanish town of Piornal, Spain, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2017. Dozens of people ran trying to pelt a beast-like figure representing a farm thief with, appropriately, tons of turnips. The so-called Jarramplas festival centres around a town resident dressed up in a colourful costume and a horned helmet. The Jarramplas has to dance around the village facing a vicious onslaught of oversized turnips hurled at him by mobs of locals. Some 20 tons were to be used this year. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza) © The Associated Press People throw turnips at the Jarramplas as he makes his way through the streets beating his drum during the Jarramplas festival in the tiny southwestern Spanish town of Piornal, Spain, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2017. Dozens of people ran trying to pelt a beast-like figure representing a farm thief with, appropriately, tons of turnips. The so-called Jarramplas festival centres around a town resident dressed up in a colourful costume and a horned helmet. The Jarramplas has to dance around the village facing a vicious onslaught of oversized turnips hurled at him by mobs of locals. Some 20 tons were to be used this year. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)

"We have the sentiment of the festival inside us. We have lived it through our grandparents, parents," Sanchez told The Associated Press.

People throw turnips at the Jarramplas as he makes his way through the streets beating his drum during the Jarramplas festival in the tiny southwestern Spanish town of Piornal, Spain, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2017. Dozens of people ran trying to pelt a beast-like figure representing a farm thief with, appropriately, tons of turnips. The so-called Jarramplas festival centres around a town resident dressed up in a colourful costume and a horned helmet. The Jarramplas has to dance around the village facing a vicious onslaught of oversized turnips hurled at him by mobs of locals. Some 20 tons were to be used this year. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza) © The Associated Press People throw turnips at the Jarramplas as he makes his way through the streets beating his drum during the Jarramplas festival in the tiny southwestern Spanish town of Piornal, Spain, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2017. Dozens of people ran trying to pelt a beast-like figure representing a farm thief with, appropriately, tons of turnips. The so-called Jarramplas festival centres around a town resident dressed up in a colourful costume and a horned helmet. The Jarramplas has to dance around the village facing a vicious onslaught of oversized turnips hurled at him by mobs of locals. Some 20 tons were to be used this year. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)

"It may appear a bit wild, perhaps people from outside won't understand it, but as you can see the people taking part enjoy themselves," he said. "There's no pain, no suffering. It is a beautiful festival."

People throw turnips at the Jarramplas as he makes his way through the streets beating his drum during the Jarramplas festival in the tiny southwestern Spanish town of Piornal, Spain, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2017. Dozens of people ran trying to pelt a beast-like figure representing a farm thief with, appropriately, tons of turnips. The so-called Jarramplas festival centres around a town resident dressed up in a colourful costume and a horned helmet. The Jarramplas has to dance around the village facing a vicious onslaught of oversized turnips hurled at him by mobs of locals. Some 20 tons were to be used this year. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza) © The Associated Press People throw turnips at the Jarramplas as he makes his way through the streets beating his drum during the Jarramplas festival in the tiny southwestern Spanish town of Piornal, Spain, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2017. Dozens of people ran trying to pelt a beast-like figure representing a farm thief with, appropriately, tons of turnips. The so-called Jarramplas festival centres around a town resident dressed up in a colourful costume and a horned helmet. The Jarramplas has to dance around the village facing a vicious onslaught of oversized turnips hurled at him by mobs of locals. Some 20 tons were to be used this year. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)

The first day of the festival is seen as a training session for more turnip-pelting Friday.

People throw turnips at the Jarramplas as he makes his way through the streets beating his drum during the Jarramplas festival in the tiny southwestern Spanish town of Piornal, Spain, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2017. Dozens of people ran trying to pelt a beast-like figure representing a farm thief with, appropriately, tons of turnips. The so-called Jarramplas festival centres around a town resident dressed up in a colourful costume and a horned helmet. The Jarramplas has to dance around the village facing a vicious onslaught of oversized turnips hurled at him by mobs of locals. Some 20 tons were to be used this year. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza) © The Associated Press People throw turnips at the Jarramplas as he makes his way through the streets beating his drum during the Jarramplas festival in the tiny southwestern Spanish town of Piornal, Spain, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2017. Dozens of people ran trying to pelt a beast-like figure representing a farm thief with, appropriately, tons of turnips. The so-called Jarramplas festival centres around a town resident dressed up in a colourful costume and a horned helmet. The Jarramplas has to dance around the village facing a vicious onslaught of oversized turnips hurled at him by mobs of locals. Some 20 tons were to be used this year. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)

Over the years the festival has seen some changes, and nowadays the chosen Jarramplas are well-protected by helmets, gloves and chest shields, which together with their outfits, weigh some 40 kilograms (88 pounds), meaning they can't run that fast. They also have to cart a drum during the four dashes about the town each day.

People throw turnips at the Jarramplas as he makes his way through the streets beating his drum during the Jarramplas festival in the tiny southwestern Spanish town of Piornal, Spain, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2017. Dozens of people ran trying to pelt a beast-like figure representing a farm thief with, appropriately, tons of turnips. The so-called Jarramplas festival centres around a town resident dressed up in a colourful costume and a horned helmet. The Jarramplas has to dance around the village facing a vicious onslaught of oversized turnips hurled at him by mobs of locals. Some 20 tons were to be used this year. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza) © The Associated Press People throw turnips at the Jarramplas as he makes his way through the streets beating his drum during the Jarramplas festival in the tiny southwestern Spanish town of Piornal, Spain, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2017. Dozens of people ran trying to pelt a beast-like figure representing a farm thief with, appropriately, tons of turnips. The so-called Jarramplas festival centres around a town resident dressed up in a colourful costume and a horned helmet. The Jarramplas has to dance around the village facing a vicious onslaught of oversized turnips hurled at him by mobs of locals. Some 20 tons were to be used this year. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)

The Jarramplas are rarely injured but others often are. More than two dozen turnip-throwers and onlookers were treated for injuries Thursday, among them an AP photographer.

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