The Weird, Strange, Bizarre & Odd Stuff

5 Strangest Festivals around the World

Festival of the impassioned efforts and manifold ambitions of all forms of youthful activity of every generation springing from the threshold of life. A festival or gala is an event, usually and ordinarily staged by a local community, which centers on and celebrates some unique aspect of that community and the Festival.Among many religions, a feast is a set of celebrations in honor of God or gods. A feast and a festival are historically interchangeable. However, the term “feast” has also entered common secular parlance as a synonym for any large or elaborate meal. When used as in the meaning of a festival, most often refers to a religious festival rather than a film or art festival.

Festivals, of many types, serve to meet specific needs, as well as to provide entertainment. These times of celebration offer a sense of belonging for religious, social, or geographical groups. Modern festivals that focus on cultural or ethnic topics seek to inform members of their traditions.

In past times, festivals were times when the elderly shared stories and transferred certain knowledge to the next generation. Historic feasts often provided a means for unity among families and for people to find mates. Select anniversaries have annual festivals to commemorate previous significant occurrences.

There are numerous types of festivals in the world. Though many have religious origins, others involve seasonal change or have some cultural significance. Also, certain institutions celebrate their own festival (often called “fests”) to mark some significant occasions in their history. These occasions could be the day these institutions were founded or any other event which they decide to commemorate periodically, usually annually.You are invited to the festival of this world and your life is blessed.

Practically festivals are a linking chain between almighty and mankind. Most of the festivals are celebrated to enjoy and celebrate the super power’s grace and blessings on human beings. But there are some other so called festivals also which are not festivals literally. In this post I shared with you 5 strangest festivals around the world. Hope you enjoy the strangest festivals journey. Take a look….

Hadaka Matsuri

Hadaka Matsuri
Hadaka Matsuri

A Hadaka Matsuri  is a type of Japanese festival, or matsuri, in which participants wear a minimum amount of clothing; usually just a Japanese loincloth (called fundoshi), sometimes with a short happi coat, and rarely completely na*ed. Whatever the clothing, it is considered to be above vulgar, or everyday, undergarments, and on the level of holy Japanese shrine attire.

Na*ed festivals are held in dozens of places throughout Japan every year, usually in the summer or winter. The most famous festival is held in Okayama, where the festival originated. Every year, over 9,000 men participate in this festival.

Goat Tossing Festival

Goat Tossing Festival
Goat Tossing Festival

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 least 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.

Bonfires of Saint John

Bonfires of Saint John
Bonfires of Saint John

Bonfires of Saint John is a popular festival celebrated around Saint John’s day’s eve (23 June) throughout many cities and towns in Spain; the largest one takes place in Alicante (Alacant), where it is considered the most important festival in the city.

The bonfires are particularly popular in many Catalan-speaking areas like Catalonia and the Valencian Community, and for this reason some Catalan nationalists regard 24 June as the Catalan nation day. Beauty is the most emblematic element in the Bonfires after the monument. The Beauty is a woman who is the queen of the festival .

Before 1928 the bonfires of Saint John had been celebrated in Alacant as it had been elsewhere in Europe: by burning old pieces of furniture on the night of Saint John on June 24.

The Bonfires festival was originated in 1928. Jose María Py, the founder of the festival, felt that Alicante needs an important fiesta, and come up with an idea to combine bonfires with a Valencian tradition known as the “fallas”. The festival ultimately became the most important cultural event in Alicantinian society.

For this festival, people gather together and create large bonfires from any kind of wood, such as old furniture, and share hot chocolate while teens and children jump over the fires.

But the most important in this festival are the Monuments, who are called Bonfires. They are made of wood, cardboard, mud, paintings and, nowadays, of cork and polyurethane too.

A Bonfire is not only an artistic creation, it is a critique of the societal, political and economical situation of the world in general and the city of Alicante especially. Critiques are made across the “Ninot” or figure. The Ninot usually represents a famous person, often an amusing parody of a politician.

Cheese Rolling Festival

Cheese Rolling Festival
Cheese Rolling Festival

Accurate information is hard to come by, but the tradition is at least 200 years old. The Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake is an annual event held on the Spring Bank Holiday at Cooper’s Hill, near Gloucester in the Cotswolds region of England.It is traditionally by and for the people who live in the local village of Brockworth, but now people from all over the world take part. The event takes its name from the hill on which it occurs.

From the top of the hill a round of Double Gloucester cheese is rolled, and competitors race down the hill after it. The first person over the finish line at the bottom of the hill wins the cheese. In theory, competitors are aiming to catch the cheese, however it has around a one second head start and can reach speeds up to 70 mph (112 km/h), enough to knock over and injure a spectator.

“The Cheese Rollers” pub in the nearby village of Shurdington, about 3 miles from Cooper’s Hill, takes its name from the event. The nearest pubs to the event are The Cross Hands and The Victoria (both of which are in Brock worth) which competitors frequent for some pre-event Dutch courage or discussion of tactics, and after the event for some convalescence. Cooper’s Hill is a stop on the Cotswold Way.

The event is traditional. In recent years, it has been managed in a quasi-official manner, but the events of 2010 and 2011 took place spontaneously without any management.

La Tomatina

La Tomatina - Tomato Festival
La Tomatina - Tomato Festival

La Tomatina is a festival that is held in the Valencian town of Buñol of Spain, a town located 30 km inland from the Mediterranean Sea in which participants throw tomatoes and get involved in this tomato fight purely for fun. It is held on the last Wednesday of August, during the week of festivities of Buñol.

In 1945, during a parade of gigantes y cabezudos, young men wanted to be in the event staged a brawl in town’s main square, the Plaza del Pueblo. Since there was a vegetable stand nearby, they picked up tomatoes and used them as weapons. The police had to intervene to break up the fight, and forced those responsible to pay the damages incurred.

In 1950, the town allowed the tomato hurl to take place, however the next year it was again stopped. A lot of young people were imprisoned but the Buñolresidents forced the authorities to let them go. The festival gained popularity with more and more participants getting involved every year. After subsequent years it was banned again with threats of serious penalties.

In the year 1957, some young people planned to celebrate “the tomato’s funeral”, with singers, musicians, and comedies. The main attraction however, was the coffin with a big tomato inside being carried around by youth and a band playing the funeral marches. Considering this popularity of the festival and the alarming demand, 1957 saw the festival becoming official with certain rules and restrictions. These rules have gone through a lot of modifications over the years.

Another important landmark in the history of this festival is the year 1975. From this year onwards, “Los Clavarios de San Luis Bertrán” (San Luis Bertrán is the patron of the town of Buñol ) organized the whole festival and brought in tomatoes which had previously been brought by the local people. Soon after this, in 1980, the town hall took the responsibility of organizing and making the festival big.

At around 10 AM, festivities begin with the first event of the Tomatina. It is the “palo jamón”, similar to the greasy pole. The goal is to climb a greased pole with a ham on top. As this happens, the crowd work into a frenzy of singing and dancing while being showered in water from hoses.

Once someone is able to drop the ham off the pole, the start signal for the tomato fight is given by firing the water shot in the air and trucks make their entry. The signal for the onset is at about 11 when a loud shot rings out, and the chaos begins. Several trucks throw tomatoes in abundance in the Plaza del Pueblo.

The tomatoes come from Extremadura, where they are less expensive and are grown specifically for the holidays, being of inferior taste.For the participants the use of goggles and gloves are recommended. The tomatoes must be crushed before being thrown so as to reduce the risk of injury.

The estimated number of tomatoes used are around 150,000 i.e. over 40 metric tons. After exactly one hour, the fight ends with the firing of the second shot, announcing the end. The whole town square is colored red and rivers of tomato juice flow freely.

Fire Trucks hose down the streets and participants use hoses that locals provide to remove the tomato paste from their bodies. Some participants go to the pool of “los peñones” to wash. After the cleaning, the village cobblestone streets are pristine due to the acidity of the tomato disinfecting and thoroughly cleaning the surfaces.

Rules of the festival

The city council follows a short list of instructions for the safety of the participants and the festival:

  • The tomatoes have to be squashed before throwing to avoid injuries.
  • No other projectiles except tomatoes are allowed.
  • Participants have to give way to the truck and lorries.
  • The festival doesn’t allow ripping off T-shirts.
  • After the second shot indicative of ending the tomato hurl, no tomatoes should be thrown.
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