Tarazona / The Cipotegato

The Cipotegato is the responsable to open the feast day in Tarazona in honor to Saint Atilano.

With more than 300 years of tradition, the Cipotegato origin is so uncertain. There are some stories about it. One of them tells that the kings threw tomatoes to the face of the jesters forcing them to cover them with a mask. Another version is about how every year one prisoner could win his freedom if he managed to cross the square, full of local people with stones and other objects. The only thing that is true, centuries ago, is that the Cipotegato accompanied the Corpus Christi precession. He followed the children that tried to slow dow the liturgical acts.

At the end of the 18th century, the Cipotegato was banned, severed his figure from the religious authority.

The next news were at the beginning of the 20th century. The Tarazona Town Hall offered a pay to whoever made Cipotegato, figure vinculated to the San Atilano feast day. Then the character didn´t enjoy any respect.

After the Civil War was when the children start to follow the Cipotegato throwing him the leftover market vegetables. Nowadays the Cipotegato feast day has importance since the seventies. Now, the Cipotegato is an institution in Tarazona and represent it is an authentic privilege.

El Cipotegato corriendo junto a los Gigantes, ca 1950

The 27 os august at midday, the main Square in Tarazona is invaded for an expectanting crowd that comes from all Spain. The people with many tomato tones, waits his arrival. He´s dressed like a harlequin with green tone, yellow and red. In his hand he has a small stick with a ball.

He is the most important representative os the Tarazona feast days and a symbol for the city. At twelve o´clock, after the ringing of bells, the Town Hall open the doors and the Cipotegato, custody for friends, goes through the crowd that throw him tomatoes. His aim is to survive running during 1 kilometer.

If he gets the goal, he has to go to the status top in the square. From there, the crowd cheers him and they return him on shoulders to the Town Hall. All this scene is surrounded by festive atmosphere. When the party is finished the floor turns in red and the neighbors are covered of vegetables. At the same time, the music start to sound.

Lugareños y visitantes tirando tomates al Cipotegato

At this momento, represent the Cipotegato is a honor and because of the thousands of requests, the role is award by raffle every year. The Cipotegato identity is secret and is only reveal after the show. Traditionally, they had always been men. The first woman took the role in 2011.

The Cipotegato feast day has been declared of National Touristic Interest because of the history, for the evolution of the first character, for the respect and obviously for being one of the best aragones feast days.

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