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Thousands Of People In Spain Try To Get Each Other As Greasy As Possible

In southern Spain, residents from two towns cover each other in black grease during the annual Cascamorras festival.
Every September, residents from two towns in southern Spain cover each other in black grease during the annual Cascamorras festival, a reenactment of a 15th century feud between two villages.

The festival is held every year in the two Spanish cities of Baza and Guadix in Granada on Sep. 6 and 9, respectively.

spain grease festival barrel people
People covered in black grease or oil take part in the traditional festivities of the Cascamorras, in Baza, near Granada, on September 06, 2022. The Cascamorras tradition returns after 2 years due to the covid pandemic. (Photo by Álex Cámara/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The tradition dates back to the 15th century, when a worker from Guadix nicknamed Cascamorras discovered a statue of the Virgin of Piedad (Our Lady of Mercy) in an ancient church in Baza.

spain cascamorras festival grease
BAZA, SPAIN – SEPTEMBER 06: People covered in black grease grease themselve before taking part in the festival of Cascamorras on September 06, 2022 in Baza, Spain. After two years of hiatus due to the pandemic, the traditional Cascamorras festival held in the cities of Baza and Guadix has returned (Photo by Carlos Gil Andreu/Getty Images)

Baza authorities prevented him from taking the statue, claiming it was theirs.

spain festival grease summer fun
BAZA, SPAIN – SEPTEMBER 06: People covered in black grease take part in the festival of Cascamorras on September 06, 2022 in Baza, Spain. After two years of hiatus due to the pandemic, the traditional Cascamorras festival held in the cities of Baza and Guadix has returned. (Photo by Carlos Gil Andreu/Getty Images)

After much negotiation, the city of Baza said the city of Guadix could take the statue on a specific day each year, but only if its representative remained completely clean when they reached Baza’s Church of La Merced to pick up the statue.

spain cascamorras people running greasy
BAZA, SPAIN – SEPTEMBER 06: People covered in black grease run during the celebration of the Cascamorras festival on September 06, 2022 in Baza, Spain. After two years of hiatus due to the pandemic, the traditional Cascamorras festival held in the cities of Baza and Guadix has returned (Photo by Carlos Gil Andreu/Getty Images)

Baza residents then try to stop the representative on the way by throwing paint – or in some versions of the tale, eggs, flour and olive oil – on them to make them as dirty as possible.

spain cascamorras grease grease hands
BAZA, SPAIN – SEPTEMBER 06: Three girls covered in black grease wait for Cascamorras to pass in front of a building stained with grease hands during ​the festival of Cascamorras on September 06, 2022 in Baza, Spain. After two years of hiatus due to the pandemic, the traditional Cascamorras festival held in the cities of Baza and Guadix has returned (Photo by Carlos Gil Andreu/Getty Images

The Cascamorras festival is a recreation of this medieval event.

spain cascamorras festival woman grease
BAZA, SPAIN – SEPTEMBER 06: A girl covered in black grease wipes her face on a person’s t-shirt before taking part in the festival of Cascamorras on September 06, 2022 in Baza, Spain. After two years of hiatus due to the pandemic, the traditional Cascamorras festival held in the cities of Baza and Guadix has returned (Photo by Carlos Gil Andreu/Getty Images)

Every year, a person dressed in a bright outfit called “Cascamorras” travels three kilometers from Guadix to Baza on Sep. 6.

spain grease festival people guadix baza
BAZA, SPAIN – SEPTEMBER 06: People covered in black grease run during the celebration of the Cascamorras festival on September 06, 2022 in Baza, Spain. After two years of hiatus due to the pandemic, the traditional Cascamorras festival held in the cities of Baza and Guadix has returned. (Photo by Carlos Gil Andreu/Getty Images)

The Cascamorras waves a banner to symbolize the statue of the Virgin of Piedad and taunts the residents of Baza.

spain grease festival man
BAZA, SPAIN – SEPTEMBER 06: A man is covered with black grease before taking part in the festival of Cascamorras on September 06, 2022 in Baza, Spain. After two years of hiatus due to the pandemic, the traditional Cascamorras festival held in the cities of Baza and Guadix has returned (Photo by Carlos Gil Andreu/Getty Images)

In modern times, residents from Baza follow Cascamorras and try to stain him using black grease, prompting him to return to Guadix unsuccessful in his mission to retrieve the statue three days later on Sep. 9.

spain grease festival fun summer
People covered in black grease or oil take part in the traditional festivities of the Cascamorras, in Baza, near Granada, on September 06, 2022. The Cascamorras tradition returns after 2 years due to the covid pandemic. (Photo by Álex Cámara/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

In 2013, the Cascamorras festival was declared a Festival of International Tourist Interest in Spain.

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