If somebody liked throwing things around, their sanity would definitely be questioned. But all around the world, people come together to throw around various things. These things range from fish to tomatoes. And these festivals can have people throw things in the air or even at one another! Whatever the case, these festivals are surely a lot of fun.
Read about 10 of the best such festivals below.
1. Rags, Mud and Ants Throwing Festival [Laza, Spain]
Surprisingly this is not the most disgusting thing that is thrown at people during festivals throughout the world (rats seems worse). Within a one thousand year old festival in Galicia, Spain, at the farrapada participants throw wet rags, mud and ants at each other.
When a muddy rag is thrown at the first unsuspecting victim, the “war” quickly escalates into hundreds of soaked dirty rags flying everywhere. While the rags fly, ants previously collected from the countryside are shoveled inside sacks and doused with vinegar to keep them ready for action. Perhaps you are wondering about the aerodynamics of actually picking up a bunch of ants and throwing them, it is actually made quite straightforward as the ants in question are within handfuls of dirt. Though this of course makes the activity seem a bit more tolerable, we are essentially back to square one upon discovering that the ants in question aren’t just any ants but the biting variety.
2. Gulal Throwing Festival [Mathura, India]
This is without doubt the most colorful festival within this list and though you may not be familiar with the word Gulal you will surely have encountered images of it when it is thrown about during the famous Holi festival in India. Photographs of the festival are very common within any form of tourist guide on India and are notable due to the multicolored aspect of those photographed. Gulal are simply brightly colored powders and every year in March these powders are thrown at pretty much everything and everyone at the festival locations.
The festival is hugely popular in the villages around Mathura which is said to be where Krishna (the central figure in Hinduism) was born. Within Hindu mythology, Lord Krishna was known to court Radha and the festival is supposed to commemorate their everlasting love. The reason that the throwing of powders is appropriate to commemorate such love is that their courtship was said to be particularly mischievous.
The day before the festival begins bonfires are lit to ward off evil spirits and shops stock up on the suddenly incredibly popular Gulal. The mixture of bright colors’ is meant to symbolize energy, life and joy. This is a peaceful noncompetitive festival with both adults and children taking part.
3. Flour and Eggs Throwing Festival [Ibi, Spain]
Going back two hundred years, the inhabitants of the town of Ibi in Alicante Spain commemorate April fool’s day with a flour fight in the town square, called els enfarinats. Photos of the event show that the entire square becomes engulfed in a white cloud and there is rarely a person present that is any other color.
Flour is not the only thing that is thrown about in Ibi on April fool’s Day. Power is gained to create new laws within the town by anybody that can defeat the town council by battling them with flour and eggs. The laws are then enforced throughout the day and anybody that breaks them is literally fined with the proceeds going to charity.
4. Goat Throwing Festival [Manganeses de la Polvorosa, Spain]
This is probably one of the more controversial festivals within the throwing strange things category. A lot of the controversy is down to the fact that that which is being thrown is very much alive and unlikely to be enjoying the experience all that much. The creature in question is a goat and said goat is not just thrown playfully from person to person but from a bell tower fifty feet in the air. As you can imagine animal rights activists are less than thrilled about the activity and claims that when the goat is tied up and thrown from the bell attempts are made to catch it fails to make a difference.
For those interested in the point of the festival, shockingly enough there actually is one. The purpose of the goat throwing is to celebrate a particularly famous goat within the history of the region. Apparently, said goat was a very special goat that was owned by a priest and the priest would take him from town to town feeding the poor with the goat’s milk on a regular basis. However the silly goat decided to go to the bell tower one day and of course that day happened to be a Sunday. Upon hearing the bell that signaled Sunday mass, the startled goat leapt to the street below. He was however saved by a passer-by that just happened to have a tarpaulin handy and thus the goat survived. To celebrate the luck of this famous goat, each year the luck of other goats is tested. Sadly however they are rarely as lucky.
The festival has been officially banned following the efforts of animal rights groups. However, the effectiveness of said ban is questionable considering that the councilors that eventually agreed to the ban under government pressure were quick to add that they “could not be held responsible for the behaviors of the participants in the spectacle”. It is reported that those that do the actual throwing are teenagers and that said teenagers care neither for the ban on throwing goats or for the ban on underage drinking.
5. Rat Throwing Festival [El Puig, Spain]
As you can imagine this is not really a festival worth going out of your way to attend. Yes, in the city of El Puig in Valencia Spain, the imaginatively titled The Battle of the Dead Rat occurs once a year in January during the San Pedro Nolasco Siesta.
The battle is relatively straight forward and consists of innocent looking pots containing candy. Attendees are then invited to smash said pots with sticks. As you can probably tell from the name of the activity, not all the pots in fact contain candy. Upon a non-candy containing pot being smashed, attendees of the event proceed to pick up the dead rat and throw it at each other, laughter ensues.
Tourists are advised to be on the lookout for particularly malicious people, usually children who are incredibly eager to pick up the animals and throw them in the faces of those who are not on their guard. The throwing of live rats is strictly prohibited as that would be disgusting.
6. Tuna Throwing Festival [Port Lincoln, Australia]
Across the Pacific in Australia, tuna is thrown as a competitive sport during the annualTunarama Street Procession in Port Lincoln. The primary objective is to simply throw the tuna as far as possible.
The festival began in 1962 as a mean to promote the emerging tuna industry in Port Lincoln. Despite such simplicity, the competition is taken incredibly seriously with past records of winners and furthest throws available online. The person with the furthest throw is crowned the Banska Tuna Toss World Champion and is thus virtually guaranteed of landing a job anywhere he wants in the future. Well… sort of.
7. Grape Throwing Festival [Pobla del Duc, Spain]
Within the Spanish town of Pobla del Duc, the end of the harvesting season has been marked since the thirties by throwing some of said harvest at each other in a festival called la raima. The ritual occurs towards the end of August and though traditionally done by farmers happy to be finished working for a few months, it is now a relatively large event for locals and tourists alike. Trucks haul up to ninety tones’ of grapes into the town and dump them on the waiting crowds who proceed to throw them at each other.
8. Orange Throwing Festival [Ivrea, Italy]
The largest food fight in Italy occurs each year in the Italian city, Ivrea. The weapon of choice is the orange and like many Italian festivals that have the capacity to be turned into a competition, the activity has become team based and there exists intense rivalry. It has been reported that at times oranges are thrown pretty much with the intention of hurting the opponent; therefore the festival is not something for the light hearted. Should you attend the festival and wish to throw oranges at people you must also choose a team. Spectators are not permitted to throw oranges at anyone and are promised not to be harmed should they wear a red hat. This is obviously an unfortunate thing for the tired backpacker to be unaware of.
Like many festivals that involve throwing things at each other, the origins are both unclear and slightly irrational. Here, oranges are thrown to both commemorate and celebrate the decapitation of a man that attempted to have his non censual way with a newly wedded woman. While decapitation is likely to be considered excessive force in modern times, back then it was considered heroic and a most valid reason for storming and consequently burning the local palace. The motive behind the choosing of orange throwing as a means of symbolizing such beheading is cryptic at best.
9. Wine Pouring Festival [Haro, Spain]
Within the La Rioja region of Spain, each year the Haro Wine Festival takes place. It is essentially the wine equivalent of Oktoberfest but it strangely enough also throws religion into the mix. Various games and competitions involving wine take place throughout the festival which culminates in a morning mass that ends with a wine fight.
The circumstances surrounding the wine fight are odd at best. The day is started by a parade of sorts with people young and old carrying jugs and even buckets of wine. The parade is led by none other than the town mayor. There is then the all-important mass, during which point everyone is solemn and serious. And then as soon as the mass ends, everybody simply pours wine on each other. The result is masses of purple bodies, soaked clothes and saved souls.
10. Tomato Throwing Festival [Bunol, Spain]
Perhaps not the strangest festival within the throwing things at each other category, the festival of la Tomatina is however one of the largest. Each year upwards of thirty thousand people come to the small town of Bunol within the Valencia region of Spain and their purpose, to simply throw tomatoes at each other.
The festival occurs each year on the last Wednesday of August and the town, which usually inhabits just nine thousand people, comes alive as a mixture of locals and tourists take part in a town wide tomato fight.
To cater for such large crowds, tomatoes are not the only attraction with music, fireworks and parades becoming a regular occurrence in the town over the weeklong festival. It can be difficult to not only find accommodation in the small town but also an open shop as most business owners close up and even board up the day before the fight in anticipation of the carnage.