Monday, March 28, 2011

The world's weirdest festivals

From rolling cheese in Gloucestershire to wife-carrying in Scandinavia, the world is full of quirky, colourful – and downright bizarre – events. They may not be to everyone's taste, but here is a selection of some of the unusual festivals you can find around the world this year:
The Baby Jumping Festival (El Colacho)
The world's weirdest festivals
Castrillo de Murcia, Spain
First staged in 1620, this strange event celebrating Corpus Christi sees grown men dressed as the Devil leaping over a row of babies lying in the street.

The world's weirdest festivals
 Cheese Rolling Coopers Hill, Gloucestershire
This popular festival involves hundreds of contestants chasing a roll of cheese down the steep, muddy Coopers Hill in Gloucestershire.

The world's weirdest festivals

Boryeong Mud Festival  Boryeong, South Korea
First staged in 1998, the Boryeong Mud Festival now attracts more than a million visitors to the South Korean city. Said to be rich in minerals, the mud for the festival is trucked in to Daecheon Beach for tourists and locals to enjoy.
The world's weirdest festivals Camel Wrestling Championship Selcuk, Turkey
Now restricted to the Aegean region in Turkey, camel wrestling involves two camels butting each other until one gives in or is pinned down. Often the loser will run into the crowd of spectators causing panic as onlookers try not to get trampled.

The world's weirdest festivals
Wife Carrying World Championships Sonkajärvi, Finland
Participants in the seventeenth world wife carrying championships aim to win a relay race while carrying their wives. The winner receives their wife's weight in beer. Similar events have now sprung up around the world.

The world's weirdest festivals
 Monkey Buffet Festival Thailand  Lopburi, Thailand
Over 600 monkeys are invited to feast on over two tonnes of grilled sausage, fresh fruit, icea cream and other treats. The locals see it as a thank you to the monkeys which inhabit the village and bring thousands of tourists their each year.

The world's weirdest festivalsLa Tomatina  Buñol, Valancia
The industrial town of Brunol welcomes 20,000 visitors to throw tomatoes at one another in an oversized food fight. There are differing theories as to how it began, one suggesting that it stems from anti-Franco protests in 1945.

The world's weirdest festivals
Hadaki Matsuri (Naked Festival)  Japan
Participants will usually dress in a Japanese fundoshi, or loincloth, and throw mud and water at one another to symbolise purification. Naked Festivals are held in a number of locations across Japan, usually in summer or winter. Though traditionally a spiritual event, many now join in just for fun.

 The world's weirdest festivals
 Noche de Rábanos (Night of the Radishes)  Oaxaca, Mexico
In the 16th century, after radishes were brought to the Americas, vegetable sellers used to make sculptures of radishes to advertise in the markets. Since 1897 the custom has been celebrated with an annual festival, with the best sculptors awarded cash prizes.

The world's weirdest festivals
 Ivrea Orange Festival  Ivrea, Italy
Every year in the town of Ivrea, residents re-enact an ancient battle in medieval costume, armed only with oranges. Nine teams of orange-throwers battle against one another, while participants are fed with free beans to keep energy levels up.

The world's weirdest festivals
Pourcailhade  Trie Sur Baïse, France
Participants at this festival in the French hamlet of Trie Sur Baise can enjoy sausage eating, piglet racing and a pig imitation contest.

The world's weirdest festivals
 Burning Man Black Rock City, Nevada
Each summer close to 50,000 hedonists gather in the Nevada desert for eight days of mayhem, culminating in the burning of a giant wooden effigy.

The world's weirdest festivals
Räbechilbi Turnip Festival  Richterswil, Switzerland
Over twenty tonnes of carved turnips and fifty thousand candles are displayed in this Swiss festival celebrating the humble turnip. The event includes parades of illuminated houses and plenty of music and entertainment.

The world's weirdest festivals
The Testicle Festival  Clinton, Montana, USA
Around 6,500 people are expected to attend the 27th annual Testicle Festival at Rock Creek Lodge in Montana. It's a strictly adults-only affair, as although the festivities revolve around the theme of eating bull’s testicles, or ‘Rocky Mountain Oysters', visitors should expect oil wrestling, wet t-shirt competitions and lots of public nudity; 'No Panty Wednesday' sees punters offered a free drink in exchange for their underwear.

The world's weirdest festivals
The Redneck Games East Dublin, Georgia, USA
Born out of anger at media suggestions that the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta would be hosted by a 'bunch of rednecks', the Redneck Games features events such as 'toilet seat throwing', 'bobbing for pig's trotters', the 'mud pit belly flop' and the mysterious 'armpit serenade'. A Canadian version of the games began in 2006.

The world's weirdest festivals

World Toe Wrestling Championships Ashbourne, Derbyshire
Toe Wrestling involves two opponents sitting opposite each other and placing their feet on a ‘toedium'. Toes interlocked they wrestle with both feet until one contender's foot is forced to touch the side of the frame. This year proceeds will go to the Make A Wish Foundation.

The world's weirdest festivals
World Bog Snorkelling Championships Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales
Competitors, many in fancy dress, battle to be the fastest to snorkel through 60ft of bog. Well over a hundred people compete each year.

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