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10 Weirdest and Wackiest Festivals Worldwide

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By Mogomotsi MoremiPublished 8 months ago 8 min read
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La Tomatina Festival in Buñol, Spain

La Tomatina is one of the world's most famous and bizarre food fights. Every year on the last Wednesday in August, thousands of people from all over the world gather in the small town of Buñol in eastern Spain to engage in a massive tomato battle. The festival involves participants throwing ripe tomatoes at each other, covering the streets and everyone involved in a sea of tomato pulp. It's a unique and colorful event that attracts both locals and tourists, and it's all about having fun and letting loose..

Today, La Tomatina is not just a crazy tomato fight; it's a cherished tradition celebrated on a grand scale. Participants eagerly wait for this day, where they don old clothes, gather in the town's main square, and enjoy a day of tomato-flinging fun. While the festival may have had humble and spontaneous beginnings, it has since become a global sensation, attracting people of all backgrounds to come together for an unforgettable, messy, and joyous experience in Buñol, Spain.

El Colacho - Castrillo de Murcia, Spain

El Colacho, also known as the Baby Jumping Festival, is an unusual and intriguing event that takes place in the small town of Castrillo de Murcia in northern Spain. Here's a description of the festival and its origins:

During El Colacho, men dressed as devils, known as "Colachos," leap over babies placed on the streets. The babies are typically swaddled and laid in a row, while the men, often wearing red and yellow costumes with masks and horns, take a running start and leap over them. The festival is a spectacle of daring athleticism as the Colachos jump over the infants, and it is believed to cleanse the babies of sin and evil spirits. As the men jump, they carry whips and truncheons, which are meant to drive away any lurking demons.

Legend has it that the festival was first introduced to the town to rid it of an outbreak of plague, and the act of jumping over babies was believed to purify and protect the infants from any harm. Over the centuries, the ritual evolved into the tradition we see today, where it's performed as an integral part of the Corpus Christi festivities in Castrillo de Murcia.

El Colacho is a truly unique and peculiar festival, attracting curious visitors from all over the world who come to witness this age-old tradition, which, while strange, is deeply rooted in the history and culture of the region. It remains a fascinating example of the blending of religious beliefs and local customs that make up Spain's diverse cultural tapestry.

Hadaka Matsuri - Okayama, Japan

Hadaka Matsuri, also known as the "Naked Festival," is a highly unusual and captivating event that takes place in Okayama, Japan. This festival involves thousands of nearly naked men participating in a frenzied race and wrestling match, all while donning only loincloths.

During the Hadaka Matsuri, participants, called "shinotoko," gather at Saidai-ji Temple in Okayama on the third Saturday of February each year. The festival begins with a purification ceremony at the temple, where participants and spectators pray for good fortune and a successful year ahead. Following this, the main event unfolds on the temple grounds.

The climax of the festival involves the shinotoko, who have been fasting and purifying themselves for days leading up to the event, competing to seize one of the sacred "shingi" sticks. These sticks, which are thrown into the crowd by priests, are believed to bring good luck and blessings for the entire year to those who can secure one. The competition is fierce, as hundreds of men struggle to grab one of the precious sticks.

Once the shingi sticks are obtained, the participants engage in a chaotic and physical struggle, wrestling with each other to take control of the sticks. The ultimate goal is to secure a stick and carry it into the temple's main hall, where they offer it to the gods in a gesture of goodwill. The winner, who successfully places the shingi in the temple, is granted the title of "Fuku otoko" or "Lucky Man" for the year.

Cooper's Hill Cheese Rolling - Gloucestershire, England

The Cooper's Hill Cheese Rolling is an iconic and somewhat eccentric event that takes place annually in Gloucestershire, England. It involves a downhill race where participants chase a large wheel of cheese, risking injury in the process.

Cooper's Hill Cheese Rolling is a heart-pounding, gravity-defying race that occurs on Spring Bank Holiday, typically the last Monday in May, at Cooper's Hill near Gloucester. The main event is simple yet thrilling: a round, 9lb (approximately 4 kg) wheel of Double Gloucester cheese is released at the top of the hill, and participants, known as "runners," chase after it down the steep and uneven slope. The objective is to catch the cheese, but given the velocity and unpredictable nature of the roll, most participants end up tumbling and somersaulting their way down the hill.

The first person to cross the finish line at the bottom of the hill, or the one who captures the cheese, is declared the winner of the race. While the chase is exhilarating, it's important to note that this tradition is not without its risks. The uneven terrain, high speeds, and numerous obstacles mean that injuries are common among participants.

Wife Carrying World Championships - Sonkajärvi, Finland

The Wife Carrying World Championships is a quirky and entertaining sporting event held in Sonkajärvi, Finland. It involves men carrying their wives through an obstacle course, with the prize being the wife's weight in beer.

The Wife Carrying World Championships take place annually in the small town of Sonkajärvi, located in the Eastern part of Finland. The event typically occurs in early July and draws participants from Finland and around the world.

The primary objective of this competition is for male participants to carry their female partners, who may not necessarily be their wives but are often friends or significant others, through an obstacle course that is approximately 253.5 meters (831 feet) in length. The obstacles can include hurdles, water traps, and other challenging elements, making the race both physically demanding and hilarious to watch. The participants often employ various techniques for carrying their partners, including the "Estonian carry" and the "fireman's carry."

To make the race even more entertaining, there are certain rules and penalties. If a participant drops his partner, they must both drink beer before continuing. The first couple to cross the finish line is declared the winner, and the prize is a unique one: the wife's weight in beer.

The Wife Carrying World Championships combine athleticism, humor, and a touch of absurdity, making it a lighthearted and unforgettable event that showcases the spirit of fun and togetherness.

In addition to the competitive aspect, the event also includes festivities, music, and entertainment, making it an enjoyable experience for both participants and spectators. The Wife Carrying World Championships are a testament to the Finns' love for humor and sport, and they continue to attract people from all over the world who are willing to carry their partners through obstacles in the name of fun and glory.

The Day of the Sea Battle - Tarragona, Spain

The Day of the Sea Battle, known as "El Día de la Batalla Naval" in Spanish, is a unique and thrilling festival that takes place in Tarragona, a coastal city in Catalonia, Spain. It's a spectacle that features participants reenacting epic sea battles with fireworks and explosive displays.

The Day of the Sea Battle is a dramatic and exhilarating event that unfolds in Tarragona, usually around the first week of July. The festival aims to commemorate and reenact historic sea battles that occurred off the coast of the city during various periods of its history.

The central attraction of the event involves the construction of a massive wooden structure, known as a "mascletà," in the shape of a ship, often modeled after a historic vessel. This wooden ship is then loaded with a vast array of fireworks and pyrotechnics. As the sun sets, thousands of spectators gather along the city's coastline to witness the spectacle.

Once night falls, the battle begins with a series of explosive salvos that recreate the thunderous sound and fury of a naval confrontation. The "ships" engage in a fiery and dramatic exchange, launching fireworks at one another, lighting up the night sky with brilliant colors and deafening explosions. The battle reaches its climax with a grand finale, where the ships are engulfed in a spectacular pyrotechnic display.

Kanamara Matsuri - Kawasaki, Japan

The Kanamara Matsuri, also known as the "Festival of the Steel Phallus" or simply the "Penis Festival," is a unique and humorous event held in Kawasaki, Japan. This annual festival celebrates fertility and features various phallic-shaped decorations and souvenirs.

During the festival, participants and visitors encounter a variety of phallic imagery, including giant phallus-shaped sculptures and decorations. The most prominent feature is a massive, portable shrine that is paraded through the streets, featuring a large, intricately designed steel phallus. Participants carry the shrine on their shoulders, and it's the focal point of the procession.

Testicle Festival - Clinton, Montana, USA

The Testicle Festival, also known as "Testy Fest" or "Rocky Mountain Oyster Festival," is an annual event held in Clinton, a small town in Montana, USA. This festival is a celebration of a unique and somewhat peculiar dish: deep-fried bull testicles, which are often humorously referred to as "Rocky Mountain oysters."

The Testicle Festival in Clinton, Montana, is a lively and unconventional celebration of culinary curiosity. This event typically takes place in late summer, drawing locals and visitors from all around to partake in the festivities.

The festival centers around the consumption of Rocky Mountain oysters, which are not actual oysters but rather bull testicles. These testicles are typically deep-fried and served in various ways, such as with dipping sauces or in sandwiches. Participants and attendees are encouraged to try this unique delicacy, and it's often the main attraction of the festival.

Monkey Buffet Festival - Lopburi, Thailand

The Monkey Buffet Festival is an extraordinary and lively event held annually in Lopburi, a city in central Thailand. This festival is a unique tribute to the local macaque monkey population, where thousands of kilograms of food are offered to the monkeys in a grand feast.

During the festival, the local community comes together to provide a massive feast for the monkeys, which includes a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and other dishes. The food offerings are creatively displayed on long tables and arranged in elaborate presentations, forming a picturesque spread that extends for several meters.

The festival kicks off with traditional Thai dances and music performances, and then the highlight of the event is the grand feeding of the monkeys. As the signal is given, the monkeys are let loose to swarm over the tables and feast on the offerings. This creates a lively and photogenic spectacle, with the macaques eagerly grabbing and enjoying the buffet.

World Toe Wrestling Championship

The World Toe Wrestling Championship is a delightfully quirky sporting event held in Derbyshire, England. Participants compete in a toe-to-toe competition, using their feet to try to pin down their opponent's foot.

Participants sit across from each other, interlocking their big toes, and then engage in a test of strength and agility, using their leg and foot muscles to try to gain the upper hand. The matches are typically held in a best-of-three format, and the winner advances to the next round.

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About the Creator

Mogomotsi Moremi

Author and entrepreneur

Telling stories, one word at a time. Bringing worlds to life through my books and articles. #WriterLife #NeverGiveUp #business

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