World's weird festivals

2014-02-19 09:31
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10 weird looking planes

From flying saucers to chubby cargo carriers, the world has seen some pretty weird aircraft.

Remember last month we shared some incredible Up Helly Aa pics with you?

The fiery Viking festival took place in Scotland, featuring torch-lit marches through streets and the burning of a barge.  

Well, as it turns out, there’s plenty more where that came from: the world, it seems, is full of weird and wonderful festivals. In fact, there’s at least one for every month of the year, happening somewhere on our little blue planet.

We’ve rounded up a few of the strangest:

Battle of the Oranges, Ivrea, Italy – February

Ever dreamed of taking part in a massive food fight? Well, this Italian festival is just for you. It is said to have originated as a commemoration of the city’s resistance against a 12th or 13th century tyrant who attempted to rape a young commoner on the eve of her wedding. As legend has it, the girl took matters into her own hands and chopped the perpetrator’s head off instead.  

Every year during February, the streets of Ivrea fills once more to commemorate the event. Teams of orange handlers on foot throw oranges (representing ancient weapons and stones) against the masquerading ‘tyrant ranks.’  

Golden Shears, Masterton, New Zealand – March

You’ve heard all the jokes about New Zealand’s obsession with sheep… well, it seems there’s more than a grain of truth in these allegations. So much so that they even have a massive sheep shearing competition in March every year.  

The competition takes place over three days and shearers from across the globe compete, hoping to win the golden shears at the end. Check out the Golden Shears website for more details  

Songkran Festival, Chiang Mai, Thailand – April

The Songkran festival is celebrated in Thailand as the traditional New Year's Day from 13 to 15 April. Revellers roam the streets with water guns, balloons or really any container that can hold a liquid and douse unsuspecting victims. This is fantastic, because the festival falls in the hottest time of the year, at the end of the dry season, so everyone loves a little bit of liquid relief.  

Day of the Skulls, La Paz, Bolivia – May

So, the Bolivians (or at least some of them) believe that each person has seven souls, one of which remains in the bones after death. Once the other six souls have ascended to heaven, the deceased’s family is expected to dig up the skull, take it home and care for it.

A big part of caring for the skull is represented by the Dia de Las Natitas celebration. Skulls are dusted off, displayed and decorated with flowers. They also get offered cigarettes, coca leaves, alcohol and are even serenaded by street musicians.  

El Colacho, Castrillo Murcia, Spain – June

Aka the baby jumping festival. Weird right?! This  traditional Spanish holiday dates back to 1620 and takes place annually to celebrate the Catholic feast of Corpus Christi.  During the act, known as El Colacho, men dressed as the Devil (known as the Colacho) jump over babies born during the previous twelve months of the year who lie on mattresses in the street.

The origins of the tradition are unknown but it is said to cleanse the babies of original sin, ensure them safe passage through life and guard against illness and evil spirits. The festival is deemed one of the most dangerous in the world.  

Kirkwood Wildsfees, Kirkwood, South Africa - June

Don't think you'll be able to make it overseas before June? That's okay! You can always head to the Kirkwood Wildsfees! Taking place from 27 to 29 June this year, this festival celebrates all things wild - music, experiences and gourmet food, especially venison dishes. 

The highlight of the festival (to those who are interested) is a large game auction, which draws farmers from across the country. 

Check out the Wildsfees website for more details. 

Boryeong Mud Festival, Boryeong, South Korea – July

Compared to the others, this festival is rather young. It only took place for the first time in 1998 in the town of Boryeong about 200km south of Seoul.  

Interestingly enough, the festival was started as a publicity stunt for a cosmetics range that was produced using mud from the Boryeong mud flats. The first one attracted more than 2 million visitors, and it grows by the year. Although it takes place over a period of around two weeks, the final weekend is the biggest drawcard.  

La Tomatina, Bunol, Spain – August

It takes place in the little town of Bunol in Valencia, Spain. About 30 000 people arrive to play a part in this annual food fight where tomatoes are thrown at one another. If you can believe it, this tradition has been going on since 1645 and happens on the last Wednesday in August.

The city council follows a short list of instructions for the safety of the participants and the festival, including the following: tomatoes must be squashed before throwing to avoid injuries, you are not allowed to throw anything else except tomatoes, no ripping of t-shirts.  

Rayne Frog Festival, Louisiana, US – September

Known as the ‘Frog capital of the world,’ Rayne throws a big bash to celebrate their amphibious mascots – it includes frog racing, frog parade and the announcement of the annual Frog Queen.

But, wait! How did they become the frog capital of the world? Good question. Apparently it all dates back to the 1880s, when a gourmet chef named Donat Pucheu started selling juicy, delectable bullfrogs to New Orleans restaurants. For years, world-renowned restaurants like Sardi's in New York boasted of offering frog legs from Rayne, Louisiana. These days, they don’t export their frogs any longer, but instead have massive, colourful frog murals all over town.  

Monkey Buffet Festival, Lopburi, Thailand – November

Don’t worry! You won’t have to eat monkeys during this festival! It’s actually a buffet FOR monkeys held in Thailand every year to attract even more tourists. During the festival, a large table gets set and stacked full of fruit and other goodies. The monkeys obviously swoop in and almost can’t believe their luck when they don’t get shooed away. People watch from the sidelines.


Noche de Rabanos, Oaxaca, Mexico – December

Translated into English: Night of the Radishes.  This traditional Oaxacan Folk Art festival takes place during the Christmas season and is known as Noche de Rabanos or the Night of the Radishes. The entire town of Oaxaca is decorated with scenes to celebrate the ancient tradition of market advertising via hand-crafted radish sculptures. The scenes are either nativity related or an expression of Oaxacan history. The winner gets his or her picture in the morning paper.
Read more on:    offbeat  |  travel  |  travel international

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