Unusual Festivals From Around The Globe

By Aaron Love 1 year ago

The Wife Carrying World Championship, Finland

Image Source: Culture Trip
Yep, this really is a real thing, and has done (AS A SPORT!?) since 1992. Although the origins aren't exactly known, it has become a popular pastime for a number of people. The world championships are held in Finland and as the name suggests, the man carries his wife in whatever position they like around a 250 meter track.

El Colacho, Spain

Image Source: Insider
El Colacho, more affectionately known as the baby jumping festival (you read that right) is an annual festival in Spain to celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi. Essentially, they believe jumping over the babies in devil-like clothing will absolve all the sin from the newborns.

The Cheese Rolling Festival, UK

Image Source: The Atlantic
This is so obscure, but every May, right at the end of the month, a group of grown adults meet up in a place called Brockworth where they chase a wheel of cheese down a hill. It's extremely dangerous and many people have suffered serious injuries after falling down the steep hill.

The International Hair Freezing Contest, Canada

Image Source: Travel + Leisure
I'm sure there's a load of you reading this that hate having wet hair, never mind wet, ice frozen hair. Essentially, this is a small competition for fun where the competitors play for a small cash prize. You dip your head in the pool water (which is warm) and then create the best frozen hairdo.

The Buffet For Monkeys, Thailand

Image Source: All That's Interesting
Before you wonder how anyone could murder and eat a monkey, don't worry this is actually a buffet made for the monkeys! The monkeys in the local area are overwhelmed with fruit and veg as well as cakes. Following this, the younger population of the area begin dressing as monkeys and dance around.

The Mud Festival, South Korea

Image Source: Culture Trip
This festival only came into existence during 1998 and was used as a way for Boryeong Mud Cosmetics to sell their products. Its believed that the mud from Boryeong is rich in minerals and is actually used for beauty products. Essentially, people play around in mud pools, slides and even mud skiing.

The Burning Man Festival, Nevada

Image Source: Dezeen
The Burning Man festival has been around now since 1986 and the goers essentially create and then dismantle a city in order to express self-expression. They create artistic pieces for others to enjoy and then at the end of the festival they burn a huge burning man. Sounds great doesn't it!

Toe Wrestling??, UK

Image Source: The Carillion
Although this obscure competition began in the UK, it is actually now performed around the world. It was actually only developed in 1970 for the UK to have its own world championship of some variety. As the name suggests, two people lock toes until the other submits. Weird, weird people the British.

La Tomatina, Spain

Image Source: The Atlantic

You've probably heard of this one before, but essentially La Tomatina is a huge food fight. This has now run annually since 1945 and for an hour locals (and tourists) throw tomatoes at each other limitlessly. After an hour of this a truck comes and washes the streets and people go back to their days.

World Bog Snorkelling Championships, UK

Image Source: CBS News
If you missed that, that does say bog snorkelling. Trust the UK to take it that step further than it needed to. This has been running annually now since 1985 and essentially a competitor has to swim from end to end of a trench of bog water relying on a pair of flippers they've been given to push through.

Air Guitar Championships, Finland

Image Source: The Mercury News
Evidently, Finland enjoy a weird competition just as much as the UK. Since 1966, yep that long, Finland have hosted the air guitar competition; it was originally intended to be a joke but quickly caught on. Two songs per competitor and you get scored out of 6, how hard can it be?

Cheung Chau Bun Festival, Hong Kong

Image Source: Reddit
This festival, believe it or not has been running for over 3 centuries and consists of a tower of buns being built to around 60-foot and people climb it to try and grab the highest bun they can. It's believed the higher the bun the better the fortune. Around 60,000 buns are made by the supplier every year.

Underwater Music Festival, Florida

Image Source: Twitter
Florida has the only living coral reef surrounding the US so what better place to hold the Underwater Music Festival! For the last 30 years or so, sea-themed (??) music is played under the water and people are encouraged to play along underwater in costumes to win prizes.

Las Bolas de Fuego, El Salvador

Image Source: www.express.co.uk
Annually, on the final day of August, locals to Nejapa group up and throw fireballs to commemorate a 1658 volcano eruption. In fact, they are in two teams of two and throw fireballs of kerosene at each other. Sounds safe right? It's been running for 100 years though so I don't think it'll be stopping anytime soon.

Up-Helly-Aa, UK

Image Source: Reddit
This has become a great tourist festival, attracting thousands of people to the small communities around the Shetlands in Scotland. This is Scotland's attempt at celebrating their Norse connection and its essentially a parade of fire through the unbelievable cobblestone streets at night.

World Bodypainting Festival, Austria

Image Source: Reddit
When you think bodypainting, a kids birthday party might be the first thing that comes to your mind, but this world festival is completely different. They essentially bring the best body painters from around the world to create magic on canvases like faces and torsos. There's even a crazy Body Circus competition.

Water Gun Festival, South Korea

Image Source: Reddit
As its name suggests, this festival is based around having water gun fights! It was originated in order to combat the heatwave the country was going through but its since become an annual and very popular summer festival. Not only do they engage in a water fight but there's also street entertainment and music to go with it.

Kanamara Matsuri, Japan

Image Source: Culture Trip
You might have noticed already, but this festival is also known as the penis festival. It essentially honours the phallus with decorations, toys, clothing and even vegetables carved in to the shape. It raises a load of money each year for HIV research and originated at a shrine for fertility and safe birth.

Running of the Bulls, Spain

Image Source: Reddit
This is another well documented festival from Spain, which has been referenced in pop culture numerous times. It takes place annually in July and has become incredibly controversial due to its dangers. People run away from 6 bulls down narrow streets for a couple of hours and follow that up with food and drink!

Battle Of The Oranges, Italy

Image Source: Reddit
We've already seen the tomato throwing festival and now we have one based around a citrus fruit. It's supposed to symbolise a 12th century war between locals and outsider troops. A group of orange handlers throw oranges at people in carts for fun? It's free to join though!

Dia de los Muertos, Mexico

Image Source: Reddit
It might seem odd to celebrate death, but in Mexico they dedicate this day to those who have died. Families come together to pray for their lost ones and typically they make their deceased ones favourite meals in order to celebrate them. It's believed that the dead return to earth to feast and party for this day.

Busojaras, Hungary

Image Source: Reddit
This looks and sounds a little crazy, but Busojaras is carnival held to scare off the last few days of the winter season. People dress up in scary masks in rowboats to march through the streets. It seems obscure but it'll come to no surprise that they end the day drinking to their hearts desire.

Naki Sumo, Japan

Image Source: Daily Express
This event, in bizarre circumstances, is centred around grown men trying to make babies cry. Every April at the Sensoji Temple babies are twinned with a sumo wrestler who tries to make them cry. It's believed a baby's cries will help ward off any evil spirits; the child with the loudest cry is also believed to grow stronger and healthier.

Saidai-ji Eyo Hadaka Matsuri, Japan

Image Source: Reddit
You might remember that word Matsuri from earlier, we're back in Japan talking about the nude again. Around 10,000 men take part, wearing next to or no clothing and fight to grab one of two sacred sticks that are thrown into the crowd by a priest. This originated over 500 years ago!

Kukur Tihar, Nepal

Image Source: Reddit
This is widely popular in the country of Nepal, and it's an annual festival celebrated by the Hindu religion. They worship the god of death on this day, Yama, by celebrating their dogs. Yep, dogs are considered to be Yama's messengers so they are bathed with tikkas and garlands and given milk and meat.

Thaipusam, India

Image Source: Reddit
This is widely celebrated only in limited places; and devotees of Lord Muruga. It is observed annually as a day of prayers and the main attraction is when a large group of devotees hook chains to their skin (Um?) and pull chariots. They also pierce their lips with sharp metal objects. Not for me.

The Night Of Radishes, Mexico

Image Source: Mexico Daily Post
This seems crazy, but in Oaxaca City they celebrate the night of the radishes, which is used to symbolise the radish-carving tradition. It became official over 130 years ago when the merchants would sell festive radishes in the town square. It's now become a competition to carve radishes.

La Rioja, Spain

Image Source: Escape
La Rioja is the third of the Spanish food fight festivals to feature in this list, and probably the most expensive. People dress up all in white and tie red handkerchiefs around their necks to let others know they are down to get themselves soaked in the purple colour of wine.

La Merengada, Spain

Image Source: Catalan News
This is the final Spanish food fighting festival and it occurs on the last thursday before lent. Also known as Fat Thursday, kids are given the day off school and everyone takes part in a huge meringue fight. This fight lasts all day and at the end of the day people eat a xato salad? Weird?

Sitges Carnival Bed Race, Spain

Image Source: Rad Season
What is going on in Spain? They seem to have such a wide array of crazy and obscure festivals for their citizens to follow. Essentially, teams of four people will strap a fifth member to a bed, dress up and try to be the quickest team to reach the finish line. Who comes up with this stuff?

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