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The World’s Most Unusual Festivals

The world is a crazy and unusual place! Just take a look at some of these weird and wacky festivals held around the world every year, some of which sound like fun, while others are just downright bizarre.

Inti Raymi Festival

Held in Cusco, Peru this festival honours the Sun God, which the Inca’s believe is the most important God. Experience an energetic parade full of colour, costumes and music. The festival is held during the winter solstice to appease the sun ray’s – which they worship.

Masked-Man-in-Cusco-Peruvian-Festival The World’s Most Unusual Festivals

Masked Man in Cusco Peruvian Festival

La Tomatina, Spain

Ever wanted to hurl a tomato at someone and get away with it?  Get your heckler on at La Tomatina – the world’s biggest food fight!

Every year in Buñol, near Valencia, approximately 40,000 tomato fanatics get together every year to chuck ripe tomatoes at each other.  Pips, seeds, skins and smushed tomatoes are everywhere!

The true origins of the festival are unknown, however some theories include a street brawl near a grocery store, a food fight amongst friends, tomatoes thrown at an unpopular politician or a practical joke on a bad musician.

The festival kicks off at 10am with the “greasy pole” event, where competitors climb to the top of a greased pole to knock off the ham at the top. At 11am, a loud shot rings out which signals the start of the food fight and mayhem begins. After an hour, tomato pulp covers everyone and everything in the streets!

Planning on going?  Wear old clothes that you’re happy to destroy, and specifically white clothes as the effect of being covered in head to toe in tomato juice looks amazing!

Or if tomatoes aren’t your thing what about the famous ‘Battaglia delle Arance’ –  Battle of the Oranges – in Ivrea, Italy?  Be prepare to be pelted with ripe (or sometimes rotten) oranges as people re-enact the ancient regional tradition of peasants rejecting rotten food from the palace.  If you’re not so keen, wear a red hat, which will mark you as a spectator and hopefully stop any unwanted fruit coming your way.

Songkran Festival, Thailand
Everyone loves a water fight in the heat, and the Thai people are no exception!

Songkran Festival runs from 13-15 April each year for the Thai New Year, and is known as the water throwing festival.

Originally water would be used to cleanse the Buddhas during the New Year, and it was a sign of respect to collect this “blessed” water and pouring it gently over the shoulders of your family and elders.  However now Songkran is known for the massive water fight that takes to the streets.

No one is safe from the buckets of water being thrown by everyone in the street, especially not foreigners! You will have buckets of cold water dumped over your head and white talcum powder rubbed over your arms and face.  Remember to keep all your money and personal belongings in a waterproof bag!

Boryeong, South Korea
For a fun variation on your average day spa, try the Boryoeng Mud Festival.  The mud from Boryeong is said to contain important minerals that are beneficial for your skin and can help reduce wrinkles, which is good because you’re going to be covered from head to toe in it.

The Mud Festival is held for two weeks each year in July on Daecheon Beach, about 190km southwest of Seoul. Festival activities include mud bathing, mud body painting, mud massages, mud wrestling and mud sliding.

Approximately 2-3 million people visit the festival each year, and one of Korea’s biggest music festivals, Green Groove Festival takes place on the same beach during the final week.

Or for something a bit colder, but still in the muddy theme, try the Bog-Snorkelling Festival in Wales, where contestants must complete a 60ft snorkel through a cold muddy bog in record time.  We recommend a wetsuit, and a warm shower afterwards!

Cheese Rolling Festival, United Kingdom
Catch it if you can!  This popular festival involves competitors chasing a block of cheese down Coopers Hill in Gloucestershire.  Of course to make it even more entertaining the hill is very steep and muddy and competitors rarely make it to the bottom without falling over.

The cheese blocks can reach speeds over 100km per hour, so catching the cheese is nearly impossible. The winner is the first person over the finish line at the bottom of the hill.

UFO Festival, Roswell

For the conspiracy theorists and UFO-chasers among us, what about the Official UFO Festival in Roswell?  Started after conflicting reports surrounded the crash of a mysterious object just north of Roswell in 1947, the festival offers UFO-spotters and other Sci-Fi fans a chance to hear from well-known UFO investigators, exchange views with other alien enthusiasts – and maybe get yourself abducted, if you’re lucky!

Holi Festival, India

Holi_festival_ladies The World’s Most Unusual Festivals

Ladies covered in colour at Holi Festival, India

Colour change, anyone?  One of the largest festivals in India is the Holi Festival, also known as the Festival of Colour, which marks the arrival of spring. On the main day of the festival people celebrate by throwing coloured water and powder at each other, in a celebration of good triumphing over evil.

Holi is great fun, as long as you don’t mind getting wet and dirty. Some of the colours won’t come out of clothes; so make sure you wear old clothes that you don’t mind getting trashed. You can also rub coconut oil in your skin beforehand to stop the colour absorbing into your skin.

Be sure to hug and wish everyone a Happy Holi!

Dia de los Muertos “Day of the Dead”, Mexico
Each year in early November, Mexicans gather in cemeteries to celebrate their dearly departed.  Tequila, cigars and festive foods are all part of the festivities to show the dead that ‘life goes on’.

The origin of the festival comes from the belief that sprits of the dead pay a visit to their families between October 31 and November 2. The Day of the Dead is not scary or spooky, rather it is a day to celebrate the dead and enjoy their memories.

Day-of-the-dead-in-Mexico The World’s Most Unusual Festivals

Day of the Dead Festival, Mexico

To celebrate, the families place offerings of food and a photo of the departed soul on homemade altars. The food is often baked into shapes of skulls, skeleton figures, and yellow marigolds and served along with favourite foods and beverages of the departed.

Wife Carrying Championships – Finland
Best prize ever!

It’s not the most practical way to get your wife from A to B, but the Wife Carrying Championships in Sonkajärvi Finland, held annually in July, are certainly a sight to behold.

Men carry “wives” through land and water-based obstacle courses, and the champion wins their wife’s weight in beer. The festival has been growing in popularity, with a crowd of over 12,000 at this year’s 2-day festival.

The woman doesn’t have to be your legal wife – any suitable adult female will do. There are a number of different ways to carry the woman, including the piggyback, the fireman’s carry (over the shoulder) or the Estonian style where the woman hangs upside down, legs over the man’s shoulders and arms wrapped around his waist.   If you drop her, though, beware!

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