Spain is the land of festivals. Almost every city, town and tiny village has its own quirky fiesta. Many of these involve getting dirty: the village of Bunol has the world famous La Tomatina, a huge tomato fight; the town of Ibi stages a mock military coup in which revellers pelt each other with flour, eggs, firecrackers and fire extinguishers; while on the Canary island of Las Palmas the weapon of choice is talcum powder.
But the dirtiest of all the Spanish festivals is Cascamorras, in Baza, near Granada. Every September, residents of this Andalucian village get covered in thick black oil. According to legend, this tradition dates back 500 years, when a worker from the neighbouring town of Guadix found a statue of the virgin buried in Baza. The two towns both laid claim to the statue, and it was eventually agreed that if a resident of Guadix could enter Baza and reach the statue without getting his clothes stained, he could take it.
The tradition continues to this day. Every year, a villager from Guadix dresses up as an oddball character called 'Cascamorras'. He and a team of helpers stage an attempt to recover the statue. The people of Baza lie in wait, and pelt the invaders with eggs and oil. This culminates in a huge free-for-all, with everybody, from both Guadix and Baza, relishing the opportunity to get thoroughly filthy. The festival lasts for three days.