Arts and Culture

The Weirdest Festivals Around The World

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The world is home to a wide variety of festivals, from the serious and sombre through to the downright unique. From celebrations of food through to bizarre physical challenges, we’ve scoured the globe for some of the world’s weirdest festivals and have found 10 interesting events that you might just consider adding to your next international itinerary.

Check out our top picks of the weirdest festivals around the world below!

Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling Competition, England

One of the world’s more eccentric celebrations, Gloucestershire’s Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling Competition involves 15 competitors racing 200 yards (around 180 metres) down a steep hill after a wheel of cheese. The first person to cross the finish line in each race wins the 8lb (about 3.6kg) wheel of Double Gloucester cheese and a year of well earned bragging rights.

Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling Competition, England
Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling Competition, England. Image Credit: Dave Farrance.

Wife Carrying World Championships, Finland

First held in 1992, Finland’s Wife Carrying World Championships sees couples from across the globe compete to be the fastest team to complete a 253.5 metre sand track, all while the woman is carried by the man. Run two couples at a time, the course includes two dry obstacles and a water obstacle, and is a true test of strength, stamina and teamwork.

Wife Carrying World Championships, FInland
Wife Carrying World Championships, Finland. Image Credit: Visit Lakeland.

Monkey Buffet Festival, Thailand

Started in 1989 by a local businessman to attract tourists to the area, the Monkey Buffet Festival is an offering of fruit, vegetables, chef prepared meals and other food items to the local monkey population. Taking place at a 10th century temple, the festival sees around 4,000kg of food donated and a host of live music, dances and other celebrations take place.

Night of the Radishes, Mexico

Declared an official celebration in 1897, Oaxaca’s Night of the Radishes festival harks back to a time when merchants carved intricate designs into radishes to attract potential shoppers during the Christmas season. Taking place in late December each year, the festival now sees locals carve designs, including nativity scenes, animals, traditional Mayan motifs and people, into oversized radishes.

Night of the Radishes, Mexico
Night of the Radishes, Mexico. Image Credit: Drew Leavy.

Battle of the Oranges, Italy

Although a little less famous than Spain’s La Tomatina, Italy’s Battle of the Oranges, which takes place during the Carnival of Ivrea, is a food fight filled with historical significance. A recreation of a historic 12th century fight between the townsfolk and their tyrannical ruler, the festival attracts close to 100,000 spectators and several thousand orange wielding participants each year.

Battle of the Oranges, Italy
Battle of the Oranges, Italy. Image Credit: Edoardo Forneris.

El Colacho, Spain

Originating in the early 1600s, El Colacho is a Spanish festival that sees the children born in the village of Castrillo de Murcia in the 12 months leading up to the event being laid out on soft mattresses and jumped over by men in red and yellow costumes. Thought to bless the children, remove original sin and protect them from illness, the festival remains a popular event in the rural village.

Burning Man Festival, United States of America

Held in Nevada on a 5.5 square mile site, the Burning Man Festival sees a self-sustained, volunteer-run city emerge from the desert for just a few days each year. With temporary art installations, creatively costumed revellers and imaginative art cars decorating the desert site, the festival’s organisers hope to ‘leave no trace’ once its iconic ‘Man’ effigy is set alight at the close of the event.

Burning Man Festival, United States of America
Burning Man Festival, United States of America. Image Credit: Neil Girling.

World Bog Snorkelling Championship, Wales

Taking place each year since 1985, Wales’ World Bog Snorkelling Championship is arguably one of the world’s least glamourous festivals. Entrants to the event are required to swim two 60 yard lengths of the Waen Rhydd bog without the use of any conventional swimming strokes. The entrant who completes the course in the shortest time is crowned the bog snorkelling champion.

World Bog Snorkelling Championship, Wales
World Bog Snorkelling Championship, Wales. Image Credit: Rud-gr.

Yorkshire Pudding Boat Race, England

While an aluminium or fibreglass craft might be the usual choice for people taking to the water, competitors in England’s Yorkshire Pudding Race make their way across a pond in a giant Yorkshire pudding. Made from flour, water and eggs before being varnished thoroughly, the unique boats have been taking to the water in Brawby, North Yorkshire, since 1999.

Hadaka Matsuri, Japan

Each year, thousands of men wearing only a loin cloth gather together in the Japanese city of Okayama during Hadaka Matsuri to try their luck at catching one of two sacred lucky sticks thrown by a priest into the crowd. From the young and old through to sumo wrestlers and even the yakuza, a wide cross section of society takes place in the unique purification ceremony that dates back around 500 years.

Hadaka Matsuri, Japan
Hadaka Matsuri, Japan. Image Credit: Mstyslav Chernov.

Interested in experiencing any of the world’s weirdest festivals for yourself? Find cheap flights to destinations across the globe with Webjet!

Feature Image Credit: stuartlchambers.

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