Around the Web

Watch: In a town in Spain, throwing dead rats at each other is a cruel festival tradition

‘They say you aren’t a man until you pick up a rat during San Pedro Nolasco’s fiesta and heave it with all your might.’

El Puig, a small town in Spain north of Valencia, celebrates the San Pedro Nolasco fiesta each year on the last Sunday in January. They celebrate the festival in full-swing, with food, music, dancing, and hurling dead rats at each other.

The Batalla de Ratas or ‘Battle of the Rats’ is a centuries-old tradition in the village that has continued to this day. The tradition goes that if someone throws a dead rat at you, you must pick it up and throw it back at your attacker. The rats are supposedly “humanely” killed and frozen days before the festival, and thawed so festival-goers can take turns throwing them at each other.

The cruel tradition started when cucanas (pinatas), which are filled with nuts and fruits and hung all over town as part of the celebrations, started to attract rats. The rats would often crawl inside the cucanas to nibble on the food and so when the locals beat the cucanas, the rats would also be killed and drop to the ground. One year, some of the locals started to pick up the dead rats and hurl them at each other, and thus the tradition was established.

Though animal welfare groups like Partido Animalista Contra el Maltrato Animal en España (PACMA) have tried to fight the “disgusting tradition”, even getting it banned in 2012 on the grounds of animal welfare, the locals have been resolute in sticking to their tradition.

A local told the Wall Street Journal, “In El Puig, they say you aren’t a man until you pick up a rat during San Pedro Nolasco’s fiesta and heave it with all your might.”

We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Watch Ruchir's journey: A story that captures the impact of accessible technology

Accessible technology has the potential to change lives.

“Technology can be a great leveller”, affirms Ruchir Falodia, Social Media Manager, TATA CLiQ. Out of the many qualities that define Ruchir as a person, one that stands out is that he is an autodidact – a self-taught coder and lover of technology.

Ruchir’s story is one that humanises technology - it has always played the role of a supportive friend who would look beyond his visual impairment. A top ranker through school and college, Ruchir would scan course books and convert them to a format which could be read out to him (in the absence of e-books for school). He also developed a lot of his work ethos on the philosophy of Open Source software, having contributed to various open source projects. The access provided by Open Source, where users could take a source code, modify it and distribute their own versions of the program, attracted him because of the even footing it gave everyone.

That is why I like being in programming. Nobody cares if you are in a wheelchair. Whatever be your physical disability, you are equal with every other developer. If your code works, good. If it doesn’t, you’ll be told so.

— Ruchir.

Motivated by the objectivity that technology provided, Ruchir made it his career. Despite having earned degree in computer engineering and an MBA, friends and family feared his visual impairment would prove difficult to overcome in a work setting. But Ruchir, who doesn’t like quotas or the ‘special’ tag he is often labelled with, used technology to prove that differently abled persons can work on an equal footing.

As he delved deeper into the tech space, Ruchir realised that he sought to explore the human side of technology. A fan of Agatha Christie and other crime novels, he wanted to express himself through storytelling and steered his career towards branding and marketing – which he sees as another way to tell stories.

Ruchir, then, migrated to Mumbai for the next phase in his career. It was in the Maximum City that his belief in technology being the great leveller was reinforced. “The city’s infrastructure is a challenging one, Uber helped me navigate the city” says Ruchir. By using the VoiceOver features, Ruchir could call an Uber wherever he was and move around easily. He reached out to Uber to see if together they could spread the message of accessible technology. This partnership resulted in a video that captures the essence of Ruchir’s story: The World in Voices.


It was important for Ruchir to get rid of the sympathetic lens through which others saw him. His story serves as a message of reassurance to other differently abled persons and abolishes some of the fears, doubts and prejudices present in families, friends, employers or colleagues.

To know more about Ruchir’s journey, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Uber and not by the Scroll editorial team.