SPAIN isn’t short of interesting, quite frequently bizarre, and sometimes downright horrifying, sports and traditions. Take the Day of the Goose (Antzar Eguna), for example. This traditional competition, celebrated in Lekeitio, sees locals attempt to rip the head off a greased goose that dangles above the town harbour.
Sounds strange? Sure, it is. But this competition is deeply ingrained within local culture, with hundreds of people turning out to watch the action unfold.
Still, the Day of the Goose pales in comparison, in terms of participation, when it is put next to Spain’s undisputed king of traditional and unusual events: Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls.
The Running of the Bulls, which takes place as part of the San Fermin celebrations, is wildly popular and is a huge draw for tourists, with thousands upon thousands of revellers flocking to the streets of Pamplona to witness the event every summer.
However, whilst there’s no denying the popularity of these cultural sports, a new breed of unusual and extraordinary sports are continuing to pop up in Spain and throughout the world. We’ll take a look at two of the most popular: Jugger and Bossaball.
What you need to know about Bossaball
Bossaball has enjoyed a rapid rise in popularity since it was established ten years ago. It recently culminated in the sport’s world championship, which was held in Malaga on April 26. Belgium claimed glory and were crowned champions after a tense final against Argentina.
— Bossaball Worldwide (@Bossaball) April 27, 2015
But what is Bossaball, and how do you play it?
Bossaball is, as described by the media, ‘football crossed with volleyball on a bouncy castle’. That’s essentially it, although it does have a few more rules, such as only being allowed five touches per return, and the need to rotate players to different areas of the court after each point. The ball can be returned with a volleyball technique, which uses the hands and arms, or a football technique where the ball can be kicked over the net.
Combine this with a trampoline and a three-metre high net, and you’ve got yourself Bossaball. Acrobatic, aerial points and plays come as standard, which makes the sport great to play and watch.
What about Jugger?
Jugger is a strange mix of rugby and medieval warfare that originated in Germany, but has spread across the world. It has resulted in leagues and teams popping up all over the place.
Spain has amassed more than 500 Jugger players and hosts over 20 competitions a year. It even has its own official Jugger body.
Never heard of it? Neither had we, so here’s a run through of how it’s played.
The aim of the game is to get the ‘skull’ into the opponent’s goal area. However, if you are touched by one of the oppositions’ weapons, which includes ‘long swords’ and ‘chains’, you must kneel down, temporarily removing yourself from the game.
Only one player, the qwik, is allowed to handle the ‘skull’, with their teammates offering protection by trying to eliminate players on the other team.
Still confused? Check out the video below.
Who knows, maybe these sports will go down in history and cement their place within the Spanish national culture. It’s unlikely, but not impossible.