But despite these festivals’ peculiarities, they are still worth celebrating. In fact, you can very much include them on your bucket list. Elite Readers has compiled a list of weird festivals from across the globe. Check them out and see which one you are likely to pay a visit one of these days.
#33. Goat Tossing Festival
This strange festival takes place in the small Spanish town of Manganeses de la Polvorosa, and is held every fourth Sunday of January. It involves a young boy trying to find a goat, tying it up, and then throwing the creature from the top of the church belfry. There is a catch, though. Villagers must make sure they catch the goat.
#32. Konaki Sumo
The Konaki Sumo is held in Japan, and this festival involves two things: sumo wrestlers and babies (lots of them!). Every April of the year, sumo wrestlers face off each other while holding babies to see who is more willing to cry first. Of course, the wrestler who wins is the one who has the most baby-friendly hands.
#31. Bolas de Fuego
When we talk about fire, it is a crime not to include the Bolas de Fuego in the discussion. Held in San Salvador, the festival is inspired from the eruption of a 20th century volcano that almost completely annihilated the small town of Nejapa. Every year, residents gather to somehow commemorate the tragic event. And they do this by throwing flame rags at one another.
#30. Burning Tar Barrel Festival
For hundreds of years, people in the town of Devon, England, have been running wild in the streets carrying burning barrels of tar. And as soon as the sun goes down on the Nov. 5th – called Guy Fawkes Night – barrels are lit altogether. These are then placed upon the back of a carrier and are handed off from one person to another.
#29. The Redneck Games
Sometime in 1996, when the Olympic games were held in Atlanta, a bunch of locals took offense to the way the international media treated them. They were basically portrayed as a “bunch of rednecks holding a sporting event.” As a result, they were encouraged to do just that. But it is unlike any other event or festival. The Redneck Games include toilet seat throwing, armpit serenade, and hubcap hurling, to name a few.
#28. Goose Pulling Festival
Villagers in various towns located in the Netherlands and Germany take part in a traditional – albeit controversial – activity. Held each year on Shrove Thursday, this festival features a goose hung from either a pole or a wire. And as you can see from the picture above, participants take turn in trying to pull the creature’s head off. This is deemed as one of the most controversial festivals in the world, one that is heavily mocked by animal rights activists.
#27. Frozen Dead Guy Days
Weird, right? This festival jumpstarted after Bredo Morstol’s body was brought to the United States courtesy of his grandson sometime in the 80s. His body was reportedly frozen (cryogenically, that is) in a shed somewhere in a small town called Nederland, Colorado. Although people at first did not like the idea of keeping frozen bodies of dead people, this unusual thing became a trend eventually. And yes, this gave birth to the Frozen Dead Guy Days festival.
#26. Up Helly AA
The UP Helly AA Festival is held every year in the Shetland Islands. It is quite an intense ordeal actually, as it involves lots of Viking helmets, fire, and lifesize replicas of longships. However, the ships are burnt into the ground.
#25. The Songkran Festival
This festival is meant to celebrate the New Year every April and is considered as one of the biggest water gun fight in the world. It takes place in Thailand. And mind you, the Songkran festival is celebrated by the entire country.
As the name suggests, this festival involves promotion of Australia’s fledgling tuna industry. Apparently, it is well-known for the so-called tuna toss.
This is where people throw stuff at each other. But instead of tomatoes and eggs, they throw colored powders. And yes, it definitely looks cool judging by the color shades present in the festival. Celebrated in India, the Holi festival is done during springtime.
#22. Festival of the Pig
You may wonder why but it is actually a thing for the French people. This annual festival takes place in a small town called Trie Sur Baise, which is considered as one of France’s biggest pig market. Although business is not as blooming as before, this celebration never fails to amaze locals and tourists.
#21. Fiesta de Santa Marta de Ribarteme4
There is a reason this festival is known as the Near Death Festival. Held annually in the town of Las Nieves, Spain, the Fiesta de Santa Marta de Ribarteme finds hundreds of people attending a mass in honor of, well, Saint Marta de Ribarteme. The latter is basically the country’s Patron saint of resurrection. So, it is not really a surprise if you see a lot of people being carried inside coffins.
#20. Cheese Rolling Festival
Hundreds of locals and tourists flock every year in Gloucester, England where they watch people chasing a huge cheese off the top of Cooper’s Hill. As expected, they are seen tumbling down the hill a couple of hundred yards at the bottom. Luckily, paramedics and medical experts are present in case one of the participants needs medical attention.
#19. Argungu Fishing Festival
All the local men in a small town called Argungu, Nigeria compete to find out who can catch the largest fish out of the river. But there is a catch. They only use their bare hands. This is supposed to impress women, so to speak.
#18. The Running of the Bulls
This is without a doubt one of the most popular festivals in the world. Celebrated in Spain, the Running of the Bulls – or better known as the Pamplona Bull Run – is part of the Fiesta San Fermin. This takes place every July. Everyone is welcome to join as long as he/she is at least 18 years old and sober.
The town of Laza in the northern part of Spain holds a festival called Entroida. During this time, people begin to throw muddy rags at one another. Apparently, there is more to this festival. Some individuals will tend to go to the mountain and collect fire ants. And yes, they are going to throw these tiny creatures into other people’s faces. Imagine that.
#16. Moose Dropping Festival
In celebration of the state’s official animal, the people in the small Alaskan town of Talkeetna holds a yearly event called the Moose Dropping Festival. Here, they will highlight the dropping of moose poop onto targets from hot air balloons. And oh, we are talking tons of poops here.
#15. Thaipusam, the Hindu Piercing Festival
This is probably the craziest and most extreme of all festivals on Earth. Organized every winter in Malaysia and Singapore, local Hindus commit themselves to piercing their entire bodies. And this is not just a typical body piercing, so to speak. Here, they use hitch sharp hooks which are pierced through their skin. The ritual is said to show devotion to religious individuals, cleansing them of their sins.
#14. El Colacho: Baby Jumping Festival, Spain
Yes, this festival literally means “jumping over babies.” It is deemed as a baptism event, something that has become a spectacular attraction for both locals and tourists. The festival starts with men disguised as demons, wearing red-and-yellow suits and masks. They run around the village and swear at the crowd, though sometimes they whip those who get in their way with a horsetail. As soon as the drums are hit, these so-called demons will jump over one-year-old babies lying on mattresses. This is ritual is believed to give protection to the children, veering them away from mishaps and bad luck.
#13. Boryeong Mud Festival, South Korea
While this festival requires you to be covered in mud, it still offers fun and excitement. Celebrated every July, the Boryeong Mud Festival sees people wearing mineralized mud. There are even lots of entertainment activities, such as mud baths, mud games, and mud massages.
#12. Monkey Buffet Festival, Thailand
The old town of Lopburi is famous for the Monkey Buffet Festival, which takes place every November. It is during this festival when monkeys are invited to feast on, well, a buffet. And believe it or not, people prepare at least 4,000 kg of various Thai dishes. That is definitely a lot of food!
#11. La Tomatina, Spain
The small town of Bunol, Spain, annually hosts the “World’s Biggest Food Fight,” also known as La Tomatina. It is where tomatoes are prepared for a huge battle, and some of these are even brought in using big trucks. For one hour, the streets are covered in juicy red slush and exalted people.
#10. Saida-ji Eyo Hadaka Festival, Japan
For the Japanese, this festival is third in the most eccentric festival in the country. The Saida-ji Eyo Hadaka is a male-only festival, and it is where men can be seen naked. Their goal is to catch 2 “shingi” or lucky sticks. Although they are allowed to wear something, it must only be a loincloth.
#9. Hair Freezing Day, Canada
Every February in Canada, people there go hot and cold in the Takhini Hot Pools. Some do it for the sake of fun, but others do it to raise awareness and money. The rules are quite simple: You just to need to have the willingness to go out in -20 degrees Fahrenheit. When you are in the springs, you just have to dip your hair into the water, take it out, and wait for the rest to be done by the cold.
#8. Night of the Radishes, Mexico
On the 23rd of December, the Mexican city of Oaxaca creates the weirdest Christmas atmosphere. And this is done with the help of a vegetable — the radish. The locals utilize it to carve whimsical figures and eventually expose them to the delight of passersby.
#7. Day of Silence, Bali
If the rest of world is fond of being noisy during New Year, Bali does it very differently. People there actually take their time to thank the opportunity of welcoming another year. During this time, residents and most especially tourists are not allowed to put up fire, travel escapades, join activities, and other entertainment gigs. Even the electricity is shut down for the next 24 hours.
#6. The Bog Snorkeling Championship, UK
Considered as one of the weirdest races, the Bog Snorkeling Championship sees participants diving into the bog to compete for the championship. As dirty as it sounds, it is still one of the most enjoyable festivals in the world.
#5. Pikachu Festival, Japan
Of course, Japan is the land where Pikachu – and the rest of the Pokemon – are born. Hence it is only right for the country to celebrate this pocket monster. There are over 1,000 performers in the street, all wearing Pikachu costumes.
They gather in the streets of Yokohama, Japan. These performers, however, are often accompanied by other Pokemon characters.
#4. Snowman Burning Day, USA
When winter starts to melt down, the people in the United States start to cheer and celebrate. The citizens of Lake Superior, USA, in particular, warm themselves up by burning a snowman figure on the 20th of March. This basically marks the return of the much-awaited spring.
#3. Battle of the Oranges, Italy
Battle of the Oranges in Italy is one of the most famous food-fight festivals in the world. It is when the town of Ivrea is turned into a massive battlefield for 9 teams, all of which are fighting for the sake of justice. Each of the squad has its own uniform, commander, and, of course, a great number of oranges to throw at their opponents.
#2. The Viking Festival, Iceland
Every year, a small town in Iceland called Hafnarfjörður becomes the setting for a huge historical reenactment: The Annual Viking Festival. For 5 straight days, visitors can travel back in time and treat themselves into knowing the way of the Vikings.
#1. Burning Man, USA
This festival is a combination of freedom, art, and self-reliance. The Burning Man is simply a gathering of people who, in some ways, forget about their ordinary, boring life. Here, they create a new, developed community that is based on the principles of self-expression, gifting, respect, and civic responsibility.