Mexican bomb hammer party
January 28, 2009 5:15 PM   Subscribe

What the hell is going on in this video?

What is it, where is it, why is it, what are they putting on the end of those hammers?
posted by tylerfulltilt to Society & Culture (5 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Why, that is a Mexican bomb hammer party!
posted by billysumday at 5:44 PM on January 28, 2009

Super Smash bros!
posted by aetg at 5:54 PM on January 28, 2009

Best answer: I found an article in Spanish that explains the exploding hammers (mainly sourced from here, it seems). This appears to be a tradition they have in the town of San Juan de la Vega in Guanajuato, Mexico. Apparently it's a veneration of their patron saint San Juan de la Vega (surprise!) that's been going on for 2-3 centuries. One story goes that Juan de la Vega was a bit of a Robin Hood figure in the 17th century, stealing from the rich Spanish land-owners to give to the poor; the exploding hammers represent his and his band of thieves' final and fatal confrontation with the government. Every year, those participating divide themselves into two groups to represent the viceroy's army and Juan de la Vega's followers, and they converge to the town's football pitch to explode things.

That's the primary explanation on that page, anyway. There's another that suggests that Juan, a wealthy miner who helped found the town, was a devout follower of John the Baptist. He inaugurated yearly festivals in St John's honour in thanks for having recuperated some gold of his that had been stolen. This recuperation may or may not have involved lots of gunshots.

OK, so the reasons for doing so may be a little vague, but in any case, they're exploding 'artisinal' explosives of a potassium chloride and sulphur base with big hammers. Apparently 17 people had minor wounds seen to by medics in 2007, and 50 in 2008, mostly due to being hit by explosive fragments, etc. That's not so bad given that there are 10-20 thousand people that come for the celebration. There are actually authorities supervising everything that's going on. Here's another slightly less spectacular clip, and you can see others in the related videos feature (mega bomba!). It looks like this actually happens in early February, so no doubt there will be more videos of kids with hammers flying through the air available soon!
posted by bunyip at 7:11 PM on January 28, 2009

Best answer: Er, okay, coming back to this and having read a little more, there are actually some clearer and different explanations (in Spanish, still!) of the events being portrayed via links in the comments in the first link. I won't bother with my shoddy translations of them, because it doesn't really seem that important! What you might find interesting, however, is that they didn't always have their big thundery tribute to San Juanito in the football fields. Before, they used to have it in the main plaza, where it would, predictably, result in damage to the surrounding buildings and businesses! So, really, what with the crowd control and medics standing by, exploding things has never been so safe! (and fun!)
posted by bunyip at 9:42 PM on January 28, 2009

I never thought I'd see anything as cool as anvil tossing, but that was cool.
posted by bonobothegreat at 9:57 PM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

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