Weirdest Festivals Around The World

Some annual festivals emerge out of religious rituals or cultural events, while others come about because of marketing experiments or boredom. Here are the weirdest festivals that might make you scratch your head.

Weirdest Festivals Around The World

1.  Mud Festival – South Korea July 

Number of Foreigners Visiting Korea Increased 20.3% Last Month - Businesskorea

The gorgeous coastal town of Boryeong hosts an annual Mud Festival and it’s as messy as it sounds. The festival is one big party, with music, inflatables, zip-lining, and a whole host of mud-related activities such as mud wrestling and mud fireworks.

2.  Cheung Chau Bun Festival – Hong Kong | May

Towers of sweet buns up to 60 feet high line the streets of Cheung Chau in the days leading up to this festival. On the day, competitors race to climb these sweet towers, grabbing as many buns as possible in the process. Sign us up!

3. Kanamara Matsuri Festival – Japan | April

Dedicated to all things phallic, this religious festival features penis-shaped lollipops, novelty penis glasses, giant penis statues, penis-themed souvenirs, phallic vegetable carving workshops… you get the idea!

4. Busó Festival – Mohács, Hungary | March

Invitation: Busó Festival, Mohács, Hungary, 27 Feb - 4 March -

This festival dates back to the 18th century and involves men dressing up as horned devils, or “Busós”, and attempting to chase away the winter. It’s a terrifying sight, but all for a good cause: summer!

5. Wife Carrying World Championship — Sonkajärvi, Finland

Wife carrying, or eukonkanto in Finnish, originated as a sport in Sonkajärvi, Finland, in 1992. The exact origins of the tradition are unknown, but each story has something to do with theft. Today, wife carrying is practiced around the world. Participants are allowed to carry their wives in a variety of ways — including piggyback, fireman’s carry or Estonian-style, where the wife hangs upside-down with her legs around her husband’s shoulders. They carry her across a 253.5-meter track riddled with obstacles. The prize is awarded based on the wife’s weight in beer.

6. The Baby Jumping Festival — Castrillo de Murcia, Spain

Known to the Spanish locals as El Colacho, this festival happens 60 days after Easter during the feast of Corpus Christi. The Baby Jumping Festival is a baptismal ceremony wherein babies who were born over the last year are absolved of sin. The religious custom dates back to the early 1600s. Men dressed in traditional “devilish” clothing terrorize the crowd before running down the street and jumping over the babies who have been carefully laid out on pillows. No injuries have been reported, but the Catholic higher-ups frown upon the ritual.

7. Monkey Buffet Festival — Lopburi, Thailand

Lopburi Monkey Buffet, Thailand | Lopburi, Lantern festival thailand, Songkran festival

Before you start to consider how a monkey would taste, this is a buffet for monkeys. The local monkey population of around 2,000-3,000 in the Lopburi Province north of Bangkok is gifted with a feast of 4,000 kilograms of fruits, vegetables, cakes, and candies every November. After the monkeys are given their treat, youths dressed up as monkeys perform dances. The festival first occurred in 1989, run by a local businessman who thought of this unique way to drive up tourism in Lopburi. Luckily for him and the monkeys, it worked.

8. World Toe Wrestling Championships — England, UK

The location of the World Toe Wrestling Championships varies, but the practice originated in the village of Wetton, Staffordshire, in the 1970s. It was born out of the desire for the UK to have its own championship in some type of sport. Just like arm wrestling, two people go up against one another in each match, which is won by the best of three. Players can only take part in the tournament after a thorough toe examination by a qualified nurse.

9. La Tomatina — Buñol, Valencia, Spain

La Tomatina de Buñol

One of the weirdest festivals in the world, Spanish Tomato Festival has run annually in August during a weeklong celebration in Buñol since 1945, when a rowdy crowd took the tomatoes from a vegetable stall and started a food fight. The hour-long tomato fight used up an estimated 145,000 kg of tomatoes in 2015. Since 2013 La Tomatina has been a ticketed event to limit participants to just 20,000. Before then, up to 50,000 guests had been reportedly involved in the food fight. After an hour of free-for-all tomato tossing, trucks spray down the streets and many participants wash themselves in the pool of “los peñones.”

10. Bay to Breakers, San Francisco

The first Bay to Breakers – a 12K footrace from the San Francisco Bay to the Great Highway along the Pacific coast – was created to boost city morale after a devastating earthquake. Today, the race embodies the city’s unique spirit. Runners dress in wacky, eye-catching costumes, such as pink gorillas, TV and movie characters, or nothing at all (some bold runners participate in the buff). Prizes are awarded to the most creative. If you’re not a runner, feel free to walk the length of the course, or cheer on those who do. May 19.

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