There are so many varied mumming traditions the world over, it’s not surprising that even after years of studying them, I can still find something I never heard of. Today I noticed a short piece at the back of our local newspaper about a festival happening in Spain. It centers around a devil-like creature named Jarramplas who is somehow connected to Saint Sebastian. The saint was shot by arrows, but Jarramplas is pelted with turnips by the whole village, after parading through the streets beating a drum. Even though it is a solitary figure, it still seems to be related to other mumming customs in the cathartic nature of the ritual, and the costume itself (multi-colored ribbons, horned mask, etc.).
“The exact origins of the festival are not known, but various theories exist. Some believe it can be linked to the mythological punishment of Caco by Hercules; others think it is related to ceremonies celebrated by the American Indians that were seen by the first conquerors; while others prefer a theory about a cattle thief being ridiculed and expelled by his village neighbours. However the tradition was started, it is generally believed to symbolise the expulsion of everything bad.“