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Spanish Woman Claims She Owns the Sun and Wants to Collect Taxes

Angeles Duran, a woman from the Galician region of Spain, claims she is the rightful owner of the sun, and intends to have everyone pay taxes if they want to keep enjoying its rays and warmth.

It sounds crazy, and the notary Angeles Duran consulted in the matter thought the same thing, but her arguments had him questioning the possibility of someone actually becoming the owner of the burning star. There is an international agreement which states that no country may claim ownership of a planet or star, but it says nothing about individuals. An American was quick to pronounce himself owner of all planets and the moon, but he forgot to mention the sun, so she’s now claiming possession.

Angeles Duran is also considering asking people to pay a tax if they want to keep in enjoying the sun’s benefits. She has already consulted the Spanish Ministry of Industry and explained that her claim isn’t outrageous at all. If you can place taxes on rivers, why couldn’t she do the same with the sun, right. In her infinite generosity, the woman is prepared to give 50% to the state budget, 20% to the minimum pension budget, 10% to research, and another 10% to end world hunger. She is only considering keeping 10% for herself.

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Spain’s First National Siesta Championship Taking Place In Madrid

Taking a  nap in a public, surrounded by strangers isn’t very easy, but Spain’s first National Siesta Championship was a succes and it was aimed at reviving this tradition of afternoon sleep. With all the demands of modern life, this old Spanich custom is slowly dying and something had to be done to prevent this.

The competition was attended by hundreds of people who were connected at pulse monitors for 20 minutes, which is the optimal duration for an afternoon sleep.  The contestants were judged according to the amount of time they slept in the 20 minutes granted to each. Points were also given for unusual positions during sleep, funny and eye-catching PJs and, of course, lots of points for snoring. The winner of the inaugural round was a 47-year-old construction worker who managed to doze off for a whopping 18 minutes of the total 20. Judging by his line of work, I don’t think the noise and being outdoors bothered him much.

The nine-day competition is taking  place in a shopping center in Madrid and is set to end on October 23rd. Winners receive various gift certificates to use in the shopping center. When theNational Siesta Championship ends, the contestant with the most points will receive a certificate worth 1,000 euros.

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Castellers – The Human Towers of La Merce

Every year, towards the end of September, the Spanish town of Barcelona hosts its largest street party – the “La Merce” Festival. One of the highlights of the event is the building of impressive human towers, by acrobats known as “castellers”.

Translated as “castle builders”, castellers are the people that take part in the building of the human towers, in the middle of Placa de Jaume. Surrounded by thousands of people who come to see them at work, the teams of castellers create impressive tower formations, several meters high. As you might imagine, this kind of exercise requires quite a deal of practice and planning, but if successful, their human structure is truly a sight to behold.

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Cascamorras – The Dirty Festival of Granada

Every September 8th, the Spanish towns of Baza and Guadix host the Festival of Cascamorras, an event unique to the Granada region of Spain.

According to legend, the origin of “La Fiesta del Cascamorras” can be traced back to 1490, when Don Luis de Acuña Herrera decided to built the Church of Mercy in the town of Baza, where a Moazarabic mosque had previously been erected. While chiseling a block of plaster, Juan Pedernal, a worker from the nearby town of Guadix, heard a soft, soothing voice coming from inside a cavern, which said “Have mercy!”. Upon examining the cavity he stumbled upon a statue of the Virgin Mary, that came to be known as “Our Lady of Mercy”.

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Toro Jubilo Festival Makes Bullfighting Look Like Child’s Play

If you thought bullfighting was cruel and barbaric, you’ll soon learn there are far worse ways to kill an innocent animal in the name of primitive entertainment.

Every year, on the second weekend of November, a horrific show takes place in the streets of Medinacelli, an otherwise picturesque Spanish town. As soon as the sun sets, bulls are brought into the town square, surrounded and restrained by the “bravest” of participants. Big balls of pitch are attached to the bull’s horns and the animal is set loose through the town.

This savage bull run is known as Toro Jubilo, and the bull is called Toro de Fuego, which translates as “bull of Fire”. As the pitch burns like a bonfire on the horns, it scorches his eyes and face causing it unspeakable pain. Disoriented and in agony, the bull often runs into walls and hurts himself even more, while the crowd run around him and cheers.

After hours of immense pain and eventually being blinded by the flames, the bull dies in agony. If this wasn’t cruel enough, the animal’s carcass is cut up and split among the participants to the event. Toro Jubilo is viewed simply as a form of entertainment by the people of Medinacelli, but this kind of animal cruelty doen’t qualify as such.

If you feel this is an old tradition that should continue, in the name of cultural diversity, just read this post, look at the photos and get back to what you were doing, but if you want to put a stop to it, make sure you sign this petition (I did) and share it with your friends.

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Spain’s Electronically Animated Giant Baby

Miguelin, is a 6.5 meters tall animated baby that Spain has created for its pavilion, at the Shanghai World Expo 2010.

And if you thing this toddler’s just a big old doll, you’re sadly mistaken. Miguelin breaths, blinks and dreams of the cities we leave to our future generations, while smiling to visitors that walk by. The baby’s “mother” is Spanish film director, Isabel Coixet, who picked this theme both because of “the passion China and Spain share for children”, and as a way of showing that our actions have consequences on our children.

Miguelin, who was constructed in the US, dreams of the future,and his dreams will be animated, for all visitors to see. I’m sure this big baby will become a star when the Shanghai Expo opens, on May 1st.

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Whiteout at the Xinzo Festival Flour Battle

One of the many Ourense festivals, the Spanish village of Xinzo de Limia host one of the most unique food fights in the world, the “flour battle”.

Every year, Galicians from  Xinzo de Limia celebrate their very own Ourense festival. The entire festivities are centered around a number of mythical characters (peliqueiros) whose significance and stories have been forgotten in time. Still the are part of local tradition, so the people dress in colorful clothes, put-on intricate masks and run through the streets of the city, making as much noise as possible.

People all over Galicia come to see the “peliqueiros”, but also to take part in the Flour Battle, where people through tons of flour at each other. Glasses are recommended as the fine ingredient can get pretty much anywhere.

Take a look at some photos taken at this year’s edition of the Flour Battle, Xinzo de Limia.

Flour-Battle-Xinzo

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Masatrigo Hill – Nature’s Perfect Cone

Ok, so maybe it’s not exactly perfect, but Masatrigo Hill, or Cerro Masatrigo is as close as you can get to finding a natural cone-shaped landmark.

Located in Badajoz province, Spain, Masatrigo Hill has always been considered an extinct volcano, by the locals, because of its cone-like shape. Scientists haven’t yet been able to determine how Cerro Masatrigo was formed, and the mystery behind it allowed people to come up with all sorts of legends and stories, and earned it the nickname “magic mountain”.

The name “Masatrigo” means “wheat dough”. It reminds me of the Chocolate Hills of the Philippines

via WOW!Travel

Cerro-Masatrigo

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The Grape Fight of Binissalem

One of the most fun events of September took place in the village of Benissalem, on the island of Majorca, during Fiesta of La Vermada.

Over one thousand people, both locals and tourists, gathered in Binissalem, a village known for the quality of its wines, for what may have been the biggest grape fight in the world. Every year, at the end of September, the people of Binissalem organize a fiesta, to  celebrate a successful grape harvest. The highlight of Fiesta of La Vermada is the  grape fight that attracts people from all over the world, just like La Tomatina festival, held in Bunol, Spain.

The grape fighters gather in Plaza de l’Esglesia, in the center of the village and wait for a rocket to be fired. Once that happens everyone stampedes into a field outside Binissalem and a human circle is formed around a huge pile of grapes. When the whistle blows, the madness begins and grapes start flying.

Photos by Reuters, via Chinadaily

fruit-fight2

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The Hanging Houses of Cuenca

Also known as “Casas Colgadas“, The Hanging Houses are the most popular attractions of Cuenca, Spain.

The history and exact origin of The Hanging Houses is unclear. Some believe they are of Muslim origin, while others say they are Medieval. Centuries ago, this kind of building was frequently seen throughout Cuenca, but nowadays only three “Casas Colgadas” remain, built in a cliff, above Huecar Gorge.

La Casa de la Sirena (House of the Mermaid) and the two Casas de Rey (Houses of Kings) were built somewhere between the 13th and 15th centuries and have been renovated in the 20th century. Now the houses host the Museum of Abstract Arts and a restaurant, but they remain the most photographed landmarks in Cuenca.

hanging house in Cuenca

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