Friday, February 05, 2016

I'll give that a miss

There are some strange traditions in Spain that form a part of local fiestas. None though is stranger than the Batallas de ratas in El Puig, Valencia which takes place on the last Sunday in January.

The fiesta celebrates the life of St Peter Nolasco who bought back Christian slaves from Moorish raiders. After consuming bowls of steaming rice and beans and of course dancing, they proceed to the battle where rats are thrown across the town square. Anyone who gets hit by a rat is expected to pick it up and hurl it back. If you watch the video of the event on Vimeo, you will see that they are all young men taking part.

In response to protests by animal rights groups, the town folk claim that rats are a nuisance and point out that they are killed humanely, then frozen ready for the fiesta. Never mind the issue of cruelty, would you really want to participate and have dead rats thrown at you?

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