Feria de Cascamorras, Spain

Feria de Cascamorras, Baza, Andalucia, Spain © Pepe Bautista

Mysterious black handprints, footprints and what might very well be bottom-prints dot the neatly painted walls in the historic town of Baza in Andalucia.

Mysterious that is, only until you’ve heard about what takes place here annually on the 6th September. The town’s traditional festival, named the Feria de Baza, begins with an oily stampede known as the Feria de Cascamorras.

Hundreds of locals daub themselves in black, slimy oil and paint – often from head to toe.

They then wait for a cheeky chap called the ‘Cascamorras’ from the neighbouring town of Guadix to arrive and try to steal their Virgin Mary statue from the church.

The offending chap is then chased, grabbed, bundled around, thrown into the air, doused in oil and paint and generally prevented by all means available from departing with the statue.

The slippery dispute has apparently been going on for 500 years, since the statue was discovered buried in some rubble, and both towns promptly claimed ownership of it (the man who found the statue was from Guadix, but he was on Baza soil).

Written by - Photo by Pepe Bautista

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