Friday, October 14, 2016

[FuN MaaFia] 8 Of The Most Bizarre Festivals Celebrated Around The World

 


People across the globe celebrate all sorts of festivals – some are religious and cultural, while others are purely for entertainment purposes. In the latter category, there are some rather bizarre festivals such as the stiletto race in Ukraine, and la Tomatina, which we all know about. But have you heard of the tuna swinging competition, or the wife carrying festival? We've put together a list of eight such festivals from around the world. 
 


 

1. Welcoming the cows festival, Switzerland
 

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Yes, you read correct. This festival is to welcome the cows on their return from the summer pastures where they spend months grazing and is held from the months of August – October. Cows are seen as an extension of the family, so bringing them back is a reason to celebrate, and how! The guests of honours are dressed impeccably - leather collars with colourful bells stitched to them. The festival begins with a parade, tents are set up, a band is hired, and there is merrymaking all around. 
It's good to have moo back!

 


2. Up Helly Aa, Shetland

 

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Up Helly Aa draws its inspiration from an ancient Viking tradition. It is held annually on the last Tuesday of January. Picture this: A torch lit procession of almost 800 men dressed as Viking warriors descend upon the streets. The preparations begin a year in advance and it's all very hush-hush till the end.  The head of the procession is referred to as the Guizer Jarl and at 7:30 pm when the torches are lit, the Guizer and his men march till the galley to set it abaze. 
It's also the largest fire festival in Europe.

 


3. Cheese Rolling, England
 

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Gloucestershire's hills are where this bizarre festival takes place. Held on the last Monday in May, the participants need to first register to race down the hills chasing a big wheel of cheese. And it's not just any cheese, but Gloucester's famous Double Cheese. This is accompanied by the spectators chanting "Roll the cheese!" In the earlier days, only local people would take part, however, today people from all over the world come to be a part of this spectacle. 
A word of caution: The competition is not as easy as it looks, so enter at your own risk!

 


4. Battle of the Oranges, Italy
 

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The origin of this festival dates back to the middle Ages when the residents of Ivrea village freed themselves from a tyrannical feudal lord. The Battle of the Oranges is an enactment of this struggle, and is spread over three days in February each year. The festival comprises of two warring factions – the Aranceri, who are the orange throwers and represent the common people fighting against the enemy group who supported the feudal lord. The spectators distribute sweets and there is a traditional procession that passes through the town. 
A rather fruity affair.

 


5. Buryeong Mud Festival, South Korea
 

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Think mud pits, mud baths, mud fountains and mud slides. This is what to expect at the Mud Festival, which takes place at Daecheon beach, Boryeong. The event activities include concerts, a barbeque party, and zip lining. Its popularity has skyrocketed over the years and today it draws tourists from all over the world. The festival originally started as a promotion for cosmetics made from Boryeong mud to highlight its mineral properties. 
The muddier, the better.

 


6. Monkey Buffet Thailand
 

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Celebrated in the third week of November in the town of lopburi, this festival is dedicated to the monkeys. Wondering why? The answer lies in an ancient custom which traces its roots to the Ramayana. It is believed that Hanuman saved a bride from the clutches of a demon and the monkeys that are seen in lopburi are his descendants. The buffet laden with almost 2000 kgs of food is set up for the monkeys and they feast on fruits, nuts and other delicacies. 
Monkey business, for sure!

 


7. Festival of the dead, Mexico
 

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Spread across two days in November, the Festival of the Dead is an event to celebrate the departed instead of mourning their absence. It is a 3000 year old ritual which blends Aztec traditions with Catholic influences. The first day is to honour the spirits of young children whereas the second day is for the older spirits. Their nkgars at home are decorated with candles, incense sticks and sugar skulls to remember the deceased. Peop
Never say die.

 


8. Baby jumping festival
 

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Also known as the Devil's leap, this festival is held in the Spanish village of Castrillo de Murcia. It's a practice which started in the 17th century and is being followed till date. New born babies are laid out on mattresses kept on the street. An adult male dressed as the devil jumps over the infants. It is believed that by doing so it will clean them of sins. People gather around to cheer and watch the babies being cleared from harm. 
Definitely the weirdest of them all!
Our bags are packed and we are ready to go! Which festival are you attending? 



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