19 September, 2013

If you were raised to believe that it was rude to play with your food, then welcome to your parental unit’s worst nightmare!

When you’ve seen the sights and soaked up the local culture, but crave for a more immersive experience, how about trying something new like pelting strangers with vegetables or watching sumo wrestlers make babies cry? From the seriously spooky and fantastically freaky to the absolutely bizarre, here are few of this crazy planet’s Wackiest Festivals:

Tunarama – Australia

Every year on Australia day, thousands of Ozzies flock to Port Lincoln, not to catch fish, but to see who can toss a Tuna the farthest. We can neither confirm nor deny rumours that plans are under way to turn this strange custom into an official event at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Reveillon – Brazil

There is nothing quite like a New Year’s Eve party at Copacabana beach in Rio! Even though some cariocas (Rio locals) celebrate the ancient festival of Reveilon with offerings of flowers, perfume and watermelons to Yemanja, the sea goddess; most come for the extravagant pyrotechnics, electric atmosphere and flowing bubbly!

Baby-Cry Sumo – Tokyo

Should seeing giant men in nappies scaring tiny babies be your idea of a fun day out, then head to Tokyo for the Nakizumo festival. Sumo wrestlers compete to see who can scare their opponent’s baby into crying by growling and making faces. This 400-year old custom is believed to ward off evil spirits and the infant that cries the loudest and longest wins the coveted metaphysical prize.

Elvis Festivals – Worldwide

If you ain’t nothing but a hound dog looking to catch the mystery train to Graceland, look no further. Strap on your Blue Suede Shoes and slap on some furry side-burns, its time to get all shook up all over the world! From Las Vegas, Australia and Bangkok to Jo’burg, Collingwood and Porthcawl, the King of Rock & Roll is still alive and kicking!

Wife-carrying Championships – Finland

Before the concepts of equal rights and divorce courts existed, Finnish bandits had to prove their mettle by kidnapping females from neighbouring villages. Today, participants pay homage to this ancient custom with an annual wife carrying world championship where male competitors race through a 250m obstacle course while carrying their female counterpart on their backs.

Day of the Dead – Mexico

On All Saints Day, the people of Mexico celebrate El Dia De Los Muertos (the day of the dead). Far from a funeral, this vibrant festival has locals decorating graves and preparing dishes for their dearly departed. How do you summon the spirits and let them know dinner is served? By ringing bells from dusk until dawn, of course!

Battle of the Oranges – Italy

This rather intense festival is held in Ivrea, Italy and the object of the game seems to be to pelt the opposing team with oranges until they surrender. The celebration is not open to tourists, but if you still want to be part of the action simply wear a red hat and don’t say we didn’t warn you.

La Tomatina – Spain

As far as crazy festivals go, La Tomatina is one of the largest of the “throwing festivals” out there. Every August, more than 20, 000 people head to Bunol in Spain to pelt friends and strangers with tons of ripe tomatoes compliments of the local town council.

Songkran Festival – Thailand

If the idea of shooting a smiling police officer in the face with a pump action water pistol and getting away with it appeals to you, then Songkran is for you. Hailed as the world’s biggest free-for-all water fight, the festival takes place in Thailand from 13 – 16 April where mobs take to the street and shower strangers (but mostly cops) with water.

Els Enfarinats – Spain

This may look like just another throwing festival, but every year on 28 December the town of Ibi in Alicante in Spain is seized by mobs dressed in mock military uniforms and armed with flour and eggs. Villagers get to make their own laws and fine each other to raise money for charity.

La Raima – Italy

If you are not content with throwing tomatoes, flour, fish and water bombs, how about chucking grapes at anything that dares to move? Every last Friday in August 40 tons of grapes are dumped in the city centre of La Pobla del Duc in Spain and naturally, chaos ensues!

Festa de Sao Joao – Portugal

For some long forgotten reason the people of Porto, in Portugal celebrates St. John’s Festival by taking over the city and smashing each other with plastic hammers, basil and garlic. The festivities include bonfires, flame-propelled balloons and even multimedia slideshows.

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