Goose beheading festival sees men in boats try to decapitate bird

Anyone more used to wellies and indie bands may want to look away now as this 300-year-old goose-beheading festival is probably not for you.

‘Antzar Enguna’ or Day of the Geese is the single biggest event in the Basque Country town of Lekeitio, in Spain.

Each year, contestants in boats row under greased-up waterfowl that have been suspended from ropes and attempt to grab them and pull their heads off.

Yes, you read that correctly.

To make things more difficult, spectators on either side of the harbour can pull the ropes taut and let them fall slack, launching any goose hangers-on into the air or dunking them into the bay.

The aim of the September 5 celebration is to catch the goose, hold on until the neck breaks and its head removed.

Your turn lasts until you fall off and the quickest team to decapitate the goose wins.

Ties are decided by a boat race around the harbour.

Every year, thousands of Lekeitio inhabitants welcome the festivities by dressing in the traditional blue shirt of nankeen and the gingham neckerchief.

The day concludes with music and street performances.

Historically a live bird was used, but following public pressure, the animal must now be dead before it is used.

However some campaign groups still argue the practice should come to an end as it treats the death of an animal as a ‘form of amusement’ and consider it to be ‘inhumane’.

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