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Top 10 Weird Festivals In World

Updated on September 15, 2016

All About Festivals

The content of the festival depends on the occasion, on the place and time, but also can include religious ceremonies, feasts, exhibitions, theater and film performances or sporting events. Most culminate in eating specially prepared food and always bring people together. Tourists love to visit festivals - usually they are attracted to the more eccentric or historical ones. The most visited festivals are religious, musical and some that show unusual traditions. In any case, festivals provide entertainment.

Some of them are the fulfillment of dreams to people who want to return to the childhood, at least for one moment. These events are held for centuries, and imagination is the only limit.

10. BURNING MAN (Nevada)

This unusual festival is held in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, and lasts from the last Sunday of August until the first Monday of September. It is an experiment in terms community, art and "radical self-expression." The first one was held back in 1986 at Baker Beach, San Francisco and since then, it has turned into a tradition. Participation is a key rule for the community and the intention is to motivate the selfless sharing of one’s talent for the enjoyment of all. This festival encourages creativity and shows experimental and interactive sculptures and buildings on a particular theme chosen by the organizers.

The festival is named after its culmination, the symbolic ritual of burning wooden statues. It actually very much reminds of a horror movie scene.

This year's festival is the thirtieth consecutive festival. The effigy, inspired by Vitruvian Man (by Leonardo da Vinci), has been fixed on the wheel, but will not be able to spin, as all hoped. It will be burned to the ground on Saturday night. So, Saturday night will be fatal to poor Vitruvian Man.

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9. BATTLE OF ORANGES (Italy)

At the festival in Ivrea, Italy, they don’t fight with guns or swords. Oranges are the main weapon. It is the largest food fight in Italy and guarantees fun and good fellowship.

The roots of today’s orange battle go back to the twelfth century during an uprising against the tyrant Count Ranieri. He had claimed first night's rights with all new brides but ran into the wrong person. A newly engaged miller's daughter, Violetta, decapitated the count and showed his head from his bedroom balcony. This sparked a popular revolution.

At the festival, which takes its place in early February, participants expend several hundred tons of oranges that have been withdrawn from the market because they had began to spoil.

Since oranges leave bruises, many participants put on helmets and other “armour” to protect themselves. However, there are those who struggle without any protection, so they end up with bloody noses.

The so-called war battle leaves the whole town covered in oranges. Probably no one will wear orange until the next festival. Or would they?

8. THE WIFE CARRYING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP (Finland)

The wife-carrying festival has grown into an annual World Championship, and promotes sport and health life. The event was first held in 1992. Participants are men that carrying woman on their back, go pass different obstacles, only to successfully reach the finish line. The woman doesn’t have to be a spouse – she may be a sister, a friend or another relative. In this unusual sport, several types of carrying may be practiced. Some of them include “piggyback” and “over the shoulder”, but the most popular style is when a woman hangs upside-down with her legs around the man's shoulders, holding onto his waist. The track is around 250m long and has two dry obstacles and one water obstacle about one meter deep. Good, not too deep, nobody wants to be a widower.

The winner of this World Championship in Finland is awarded with beer equal to woman’s weight. To compete, a woman must be at least 17 years old and must have at least 49 kilos.

7. BORYEONG MUD FESTIVAL (South Korea)

As its name suggests, this is the biggest festival of mud in the world. It began in 1997, and attracts over 2.2 million people. The mud is taken from the surrounding swamps, and consists of rich minerals used in cosmetics production. The initial idea of this festival was to advertise local cosmetics, but it turned into a real muddy happiness. Can you imagine that muddy happiness?

The festival offers a variety of benefits: mud pools, mud slides, a mud prison, competition in mud skiing, wrestling in mud and many more. It is also a cultural and musical event with a lot of various musicians and artists. There are also different mud massages, mud baths and other healing events and services.

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6. ELS ENFARINATS (Spain)

It seems the Spaniards really like the food, but not just for its taste. La Tomatina Festival is held in August, and involves throwing tomatoes. We can only imagine how it stinks after the battle! Fortunately, it is colder in December, and a few days after Christmas, there is Els Enfarinats, a 200-year-old traditional festival that is part of the Day of the Innocents celebrations. On that day, Spaniards use eggs, flour and firecrackers outside the town hall. Also, this event includes mock elections where they decide who will be the leader of the Els Enfarinats.

Participants are dressed in mock military uniforms, stage mock coup pretending to take over the town. No doubt, there is a lot of humor, pranks, and fun. It would be interesting to use eggs and flour inside the town hall, wouldn’t it?

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5. DIA DE LOS MUERTOS (Mexico)

The festival is dedicated to the dead and this is the biggest festival in Mexico. While many of us believe that death and celebrations do not go together, they are quite intertwined for most Mexicans. The ancient indigenous peoples of Mexico believed that the souls of the dead return each year to visit their living relatives to eat, drink and rejoice together. Like when they were alive. On the day of the festival, Mexicans put their ancestors’ favorite foods and beverages on the altars. Some families call musicians to play their favorite music.

Other symbols are richly decorated pan de muerto (bread of the dead), candies and sweets in the shape of a skull, the figures of the dead and many paper skeletons and skulls. Today, these creepy symbols and other similar details can be seen at shops and stalls which sell sweets until mid-October. Would you like to know what a floral sugar skull tastes like? Yes, but maybe next time!

All of this is natural for Mexicans who believe that death is part of life and this represents the Mexican spirit and tradition. Mexican people wear strange masks during this festival, and celebrate with local folklore and food.

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4. EL SALTO DEL COLACHO (Spain)

Festival "El Salto del Colacho" (baby jumping), or "Devil's jump" is a traditional Spanish festival which dates from 1620. It is held every year in June, on the feast of Corpus Christi (Body of Christ) in the Spanish village Castrillo de Murcia. Men, dressed up as devils, jump over the babies born in the last 12 months, to "clean" them from the original sin, while the babies lay on mattresses on the street. This is one of the most dangerous festivals in the world. Participants need to decide whether to risk the life of their newborn child to keep it "clean" from a sin.

It is believed that by jumping the babies they will expel from the babies the entire devil's evil and that action provides protection for the rest of their life. It makes your hair stand on end!

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3. WORLD TESTICLE COOKING CHAMPIONSHIP “MUDIJADA” (Serbia)

World Testicle Cooking Championship is a funny gastronomic festival. Organizers created this unique competition in 2004 as an annual festival, in the village Lunjevica, on the Rudnik mountain. The menu includes dishes of various domestic animals’ testicles. Oh, my...! How would you translate the name of this festival? Balls-arama?

As the organizers say, they love and respect animals. They do not kill them for a pair of testicles, but they buy them from the butchery just like any other meat. Castrated animals, when their testicles are removed, gain weight faster. This way the meat industry works and makes a profit. This is a normal process standard, which applies throughout the entire world. It is difficult to find and buy testicles, and because of that, these dishes are called specialties. Testicles are the only meat you can eat while the donor animal is alive.

Since ancient times, it is believed that a dish of testicles provokes love madness, but it is not scientifically confirmed. The organizers and competitors claim that this culinary specialty is excellent aphrodisiac.

Except cooking, the program includes camping, sport events, concerts, in a word, good entertainment.

2. THAIPUSAM (Hindu festival)

Thaipusam is a Hindu cult festival celebrated on the full moon once a year in India, Singapore and Malaysia. This event celebrates the birth of Murugan, the son of the gods Shiva and Parvati. The festival participants shave their heads and perform pilgrimage.

At this festival, devotees perform rituals drilling their bodies. During the ritual, they sing and dance to the rhythm of the drum and they drill their tongues, faces and skin on the back with needles. Hey, how do you sing, dance and drill your body and not cry? Some of them put the hooks on the back and drag heavy objects. The aim of the festival is to endure pain as long as possible, and those who endure the most, are considered to be blessed.

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1. FESTIVAL MA’NENE (Indonesia)

Indonesians have a very strange and complex custom. During the festival Ma'nene, they dig up the graves of their dead family members, wash them, dress them up in new clothes and walk through the streets with the skeletons. After that, they return them to their graves. Isn’t that romantic? This ritual is called „Cleaning of the Corpses” and it is part of the festival Ma'nene which is held every three years and its aim is to strengthen the connection among relatives and to show tribute to dead.

Although this seems like a scene from a zombie movie, for Indonesians this festival is a celebration of life. They believe that the spirits of the dead will reward them for their care.

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    • profile image

      Nancy 

      2 years ago

      Oh my! very funny and informative article. Some of the festivals are bizarre for my taste but they all show a diversity this world of ours offers. Thank you.

    • profile image

      Mary Daisy 

      2 years ago

      I am glad I read this hub. I've read a couple of your articles and I must say that they are incredibly interesting and a joy to read. I would love to visit all the festivals, even Mudijada festival :)

    • profile image

      George 

      2 years ago

      Wonderful article. Thanks for sharing.

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