Festivals have people coming together and having a good time. But some of the festivals that take place around the world would make uncomfortable, to say the least. Weird traditions exist everywhere and these traditions include festivals too.
Today we are going to share 10 of the strangest festivals that are organized around the world. To most people, these festivals will make little sense and often you will find yourself asking “But why?!”
Read about the weird festivals below.
- Boryeong Mud Festival
Boryeong, South Korea
It is just as awful as it sounds; well it is if you hate dirt as much as I do. If you’re a man that enjoys a little bit of cheeky mud wrestling you are going to love this one. This festival takes place in South Korea and all you have to do is wear as little clothing as possible and cover yourself and the people near you with Boryeong mud. Obviously to do so without a legitimate reason would be insane; the mud is believed to be beneficial against any skin problem and many visitors have praised the mud’s healing properties. I have to say it is not a festival for me. Mud is dirty enough and with lots of half-naked people rolling around in it, I would hate to think what else could be in there.
- Cheese Rolling Festival
So you have a nice wheel of some top quality cheese and some delicious biscuits to enjoy it with. It is set to be the best cheese board ever — and so you throw the cheese down a giant hill. It doesn’t make sense, does it? But that’s what the delightful eccentric Brits do; they often like to do things a bit differently.
On the Spring Bank Holiday in May a group of barmy Brits assemble on the top of Coopers Hill in Gloucestershire and from the top of the ridiculously steep hill they roll a 7-8lb (4 Kg) round of Double Gloucester cheese and then chase after it — Bonkers! The first person over the finish line (without horrific injuries, cheese related or otherwise) at the bottom of the hill wins the cheese. The cheese wheels can reach speeds of up to 70 mph (112 km/h) enough to completely flatten an observing spectator. Imagine explaining that injury in the emergency room.
Due to the helpful input of gravity; injuries are common, luckily paramedics are waiting just beyond the finish line to scrape up the participants and cart them off to hospital for repairs. To me it just sounds like a dangerous way to waste cheese — I do love cheese, but why chase it down a cliff face when you can go to the local supermarket?
- Burning Tar Barrel Festival
Don’t you sometimes just spontaneously feel the need to carry a giant, flaming barrel of tar on your shoulders? Yes, we are back with the barmy Brits, you can’t stop them doing some freaky stuff, year upon year. The Tar Barrel Carrying Festival takes place on Guy Fawkes Night (it’s the 5th of November, check your history books kids) in Devon, England. Possibly occurring as early as 1688, the reasons for such a barmy ritual have been lost; explanations include ancient Pagan ceremonies and fumigation. But, even though the reason for the celebration has been lost, patrons maintain that it is the best way to spend Guy Fawkes Night.
Quite simply tar barrels are lit in front of a sponsoring pub then hoisted onto the carriers back and he goes walkabout through the crowds. Yes you read it right; someone walks through a crowd with a flaming barrel of dripping tar. I hope the fire brigade is nearby. When he has had enough of setting crowd members on fire he passes the burning barrel onto the next participant and more innocent people are subject to a serious fire hazard. Maybe lay off the hair spray if you want to attend this festival.
- Festa del Cornuto
Roca Canterano, Italy
The Festival of Horns is certainly a festival for the more pathetic members of the human population; I did try to say it in a nicer way, but it turns out there isn’t a nicer way to say it. This is the festival for life’s losers as it celebrates anyone who has been cheated on in a relationship. It takes place in November in the town of Roca Canterano near Rome, Italy. The Cornutos march through the streets wearing a helmet with horns, sometimes crying and smashing up CDs or other objects that symbolize their failed relationships.
The horns are a metaphor for someone that has been cheated on, the term is thought to date from as far back as the Roman Empire when victorious soldiers were given horns as a prize upon their return from battle, often they would find out that their wife’s been cheating on them during their absence.
These people tell their sorry stories of woe, passing them through the streets where lots of fresh connections are made — possibly securing their visit to the following year festival. It must be a love-rats paradise, lots of gullible and vulnerable people to prey on who actually advertise the fact that they are vulnerable and gullible. It has never been so easy.
If it happened to me personally I’d just forget about it and move on but these people clearly haven’t heard the expression “Get over it”.
- Pamplona Bull Run
Do you have a death wish and a love of large angry hairy mammals? Are you looking for a way to combine your two passions? Look no further, I give you the Pamplona Bull Run. The running of the bulls is part of the Fiesta San Fermin which begins 6th July until 14th July, every year in Pamplona, Spain.
The Fiesta does pretty much what is says on the tin; you run through the streets with some angry bulls chasing you, hungry to do some goring. I bet you’re thinking it can’t be that bad. Well you probably won’t have had any sleep due to the riotous partying the night before and you probably have had a couple of little tipples yourself. So now you have to run 800m with bulls, sleep deprived and a little drunk or hung over — does it still seem like a good idea?
If you’re still crazy enough to give it ago, here are a few little tips to help see you through (although I can’t promise that.) Respect the bulls; they are worshipped by the locals and it’s not a good idea to have both pissed off bulls and locals chasing you. Pickpockets are rife in Pamplona; you would be gutted to get the hospital to realize you couldn’t pay to have that giant hole in your leg fixed. Lastly, if you do fall while doing the run, curl into a ball and hope for the best.
- Near Death Festival
Las Nieves, Spain
Each year on the 29th of July in the quaint little town of Las Nieves, Spain, a very strange and morbid festival takes place. It’s the Near Death Festival, anyone who has had a near death experience jumps into a coffin which is carried to the church Santa Marta De Ribarteme. And no, a rather nasty paper cut does not count, but I bet a few people try their luck with that one to save themselves a walk. It’s a plan that could backfire though; if you don’t have enough pall-bearers to carry your coffin, you have to lug it all the way to the church yourself — maybe a bit harsh on your backs.
After a visit to the cemetery (I stress that the participants are not buried in their coffins) the lucky escapees bestow offerings and gifts upon a statue of Santa Marta for all her help keeping them in the earthly realm. With religious images and icons everywhere you look, fireworks a-plenty and giant Spanish brass bands. It is probably quite an overwhelming and frightening experience. I may just give that festival a miss, if I do have a near-death experience I don’t think I will tempt fate with some over the top celebrations. No need to draw the attention of the Grim Reaper to his mistakes — he might not look too kindly upon that.
- Testicle Festival
Testicles are not the nicest things at the best of times, why on earth would they need a festival. Well actually it isn’t a festival for testicles in general; it is a festival for the Rocky Mountain Oyster, better known as bull testicles or Cowboy Caviar (yes really.) And it is what you fear; the festival is for people who enjoy wrapping their mouths around bull testicles and eating them. They are quite versatile; boiled, sautéed or eaten raw I would imagine they would taste quite disgusting. But, they are usually eaten covered in breadcrumbs and deep-fried. You can cover them in whatever you like; it doesn’t disguise what they are.
The testicle festival takes place each year at the Rock Creek Lodge in Montana and provides opportunities for insecure Americans to prove their manhood by stuffing their face with bull nuts…it doesn’t really make sense does it? The festival started small but it has expanded to a weekend full of nudity and debauchery, which at on point involves bulls defecating on bingo cards…you really don’t want to know.
It seems odd to me that of all the pieces of the bull you could eat that you would choose the testicles.
8. El Colacho Festival
Castrillo de Murcia, Spain
Better known as the Baby Jumping Festival, it takes place in June of each year in Castrillo de Murcia, Spain. It is a truly bizarre Spanish practice that dates all the way back to 1620, which celebrates the Christian Feast of Corpus Christi. It’s hard to explain the Baby Jumping Festival without sounding like I’m making it up, but here it goes. Grown men dress up as the Devil and jump over babies born in the last 12 months of the year, which lie on mattresses in the street. If this isn’t creepy enough the Brotherhood of Santísimo Sacramento de Minerva, the festival’s organisers, chase people around the town throughout the day… with whips.
The aim of the festival is to cleanse the babies of original sin and protect them against illness and evil spirits. It is absolutely crazy to jump over babies in such a manner, if this happened outside of the festival child welfare or social services would surely be called in.
- Bolas de Fuego
Nejapa, El Salvador
Goodness gracious great balls of fire. Nope it’s nothing to do with popping chili powder onto testicles; Bolas de Fuego translates to balls of fire and you certainly do need big balls for this little celebration. Every year on August the 21st in the El Salvadorian town of Nejapa in which, men on opposing teams fling fuel soaked flaming rags at each other; sounds like good clean and safe fun doesn’t it?
How did you spend your night? Oh I just got a flaming rag thrown into my face, it was quite tame really.
How can they get away with such dangerous act; anywhere else it would be classed as arson and wounding with intent. But, since it is a tradition that may date back as far as 1685 after a volcanic eruption, the authorities let it slide; let’s face it they would probably fling their flaming balls at each other anyway. It is a perfect celebration for pyromaniacs who want to indulge their love of fire without getting arrested.
- Penis Festival
Each year on the first Sunday in April in the Japanese town of Komaki a quirky Asian festival called Kanamara Matsuri takes place. It isn’t all about the penis it is actually a Shinto fertility festival where people create giant penis illustrations from every possible object (I wouldn’t know where to look.) People carry around large handcrafted penises and worship huge penis idols because it is a Japanese symbol of fertility. Expect everything to be penis-shaped; the candles, the candy, the decorations, and the food will all be shaped like a penis and will be involved in a giant penis parade throughout the city.
Additionally, worshipping at a giant penis effigy is believed to protect against sexually transmitted diseases. That’s just a bit backward isn’t it? Surely they should be worshipping a giant condom.