Top 10 Strange Festivals Celebrated Around the World
There are more wonderful and weird things in the world than you can imagine. For some traveling is all about going to famous places, for some it is about exploring the unexplored parts, and for some, it is about adventure. But sometimes when you go to some foreign place and try to understand their culture and history, this might be a whole different and precious experience. And, what will be a better way to understand a culture than celebrating their weird and different festivals? Almost every country in the world has a different and slightly weird side. And to make you aware of some of the strangest festivals in the world, here we have prepared a list that includes the craziest festivals of all time, from tomato fights in Spain to intense body piercing in India.
Mud Festival, South Korea
Photo Credit: Jirka Matousek, flickr
Mud festival is an annual festival that takes place in the month of July in the village of Boryeong. You will be surprised to know that the festival is not historic by any means. It took place in 1998 for the first time as a marketing event for Boryeong mud cosmetics. Actually, the mud extracted from Boryeong mud flats is believed to be rich in natural minerals and is used in making beauty products. But after that promotional event, it became so popular amongst the locals and tourists that it is now celebrated every year. The main attractions include a mud pool, mud-slides, mud prison and mud skiing.
La Tomatina, Spain
Photo Credit: MikeJamieson(1950), flickr
Since 1945, this Spanish Tomato Festival is being celebrated annually in the month of August during a weeklong celebration. The crowd takes the tomatoes from vegetable stalls and starts a tomato fight. The only one rule you have to follow there is that you squeeze the tomato first and then throw it on someone so that it won’t hurt much. The hour-long tomato fight uses up around 145,000 kg of tomatoes. After the fight is over, a water truck run down the streets and you can wash off yourself in the shower. You remember ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’?
Air Guitar World Championship, Finland
Since 1996, the Air Guitar World Championship has been held annually in Finland as part of the Oulu Music Video Festival. There is also no cultural relation with this festival but the ideology behind the festival is way too huge that anything. It is, ‘Wars would end and all the bad things would go away if everyone just plays guitar.’ Lots of participants from all over the world come to participate in the festival. The rules are simple, participants must play air guitar on stage in two rounds, every round should last at least one minute, there should be no other instrument played, no drums, piano, nothing.
Holi is celebrated in India and is known to be the festival of colors. Holi celebrates good over evil, forgiveness, and also the arrival of spring season. It is a Hindu festival and was previously celebrated in India and Nepal only, but now it is celebrated in almost every country of the world, thought the time of celebration may vary. On this day, people play with each with dry colors, and water balloons and water guns and you will see faces, clothes, streets, everything is painted in colors. A special sweet ‘Gujiya’ and also a cooling drink named ‘Thandai’ are made on the occasion along with lots of delicious food and sweets.
The Day of the Dead, Mexico
Photo Credit: Roberto Robles, flickr
Día de Muertos is a Spanish name meaning The Day of the Dead. It is a Mexican festival celebrated throughout Mexico and the Mexican people living in other countries. If you have watched the animated movie ‘COCO’, then you might know the purpose of the festival and the rituals performed. The day is focused on family gatherings in remembrance of those who have passed away. On this holiday, family and friends gather and remember their ancestor friends and family members who have died. They believe that doing this helps support their spiritual journey. In 2008, this tradition was put in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
The Running of the Bulls, Spain
Photo Credit: Kent Wang, flickr
We can safely say that this is one of the most popular and most dangerous events on this list. The Pamplona Bull Run in Spain is basically a part of the Fiesta San Fermin which is organized in July every year. Other than you must have a daring and strong heart, the only requirement to participate is that you should be at least 18 years old.
Fiesta de Santa Marta de Ribarteme, Spain
Photo Credit: Gabriel González, flickr
Don’t you think there are so many weird events organized in Spain? Well, I do think so because here is another strange event also known as the Near Death Festival. The event is celebrated every year in the town of Las Nieves, Spain to honor Saint Marta de Ribarteme, also known as the Patron saint of Resurrection. Some people are carried there in the coffins and surprisingly they are not dead yet but actually, they have had a near-death experience within the past year and are now showing their gratitude.
The Thaipusam Festival, India
Photo Credit: William Cho, flickr
Well, one can say it as dangerous as this Hindu festival involves some of the most extreme body piercings known to man. The festival is celebrated in southern part of India, basically in the Tamil community. According to practitioners, the more pain you can undergo, the more you will be blessed. In some cases, people are pierced hooks into their skins and carry heavy objects or get hanged with those hooks. The ritual begins on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai, which is around January or February.
Wife-Carrying Championship, Finland
PhotoCredit: Visit Lakeland, flickr
This is a funny and amusing event where men hoist their wives up over their shoulders and carry them through a track full of obstacles. And you will be surprised to hear the prize one will get when he wins the championship- free beer. The person who wins gets the beer equal to his wife’s weight. Isn’t that motivating? The practice is related to the tribal ritual that stems back to tribal wife-stealing. It has been almost three decades now that the practice is going on every year.
Songkran Festival, Thailand
According to the Thailand calendar, the people celebrate their New Year’s Day on April 13. And on this day the whole country prepare themselves for the battle with water guns, buckets, and some even drag elephants into the spray fest. As the people go by the streets, others throw water on them and almost everyone is seen on the streets at that time of the year cheering and celebrating.
So, what do you think about these festivals and events? If you are planning a trip to any of these countries, then make sure to schedule your trip according to these festivals and get a chance to enjoy these strange events at least once in your lifetime. Do tell us if you have attended any of these festivals.