Unusual Festivals Around the World You Won’t Want to Miss

Holi Festival of Colours by flickr user evoo73

Somewhere in the world, there’s probably a festival going on this very minute. It can be a celebration of a religious figure, a party to signal the end of summer, or just a reason to get together and have fun. Some of these festivals are not your usual fare, as evidenced in the list below.

Hadaka Matsuri (Naked Festival), Japan

There’s nothing like a bunch of nearly naked men running through the streets in cold weather. Every summer and winter in many parts of Japan, the Naked Festival is held as a ritual of purification. Originating in Okayama, it is still the most popular of all the events throughout Japan. It draws as many as 9,000 men. The men usually wear a loin cloth, called a fundoshi, as they run through the streets and then are doused with water as part of the purification process.

Holi (Festival of Colors), India

This is one festival you don’t want to attend while wearing your finest clothes. As a matter of fact, you’ll want to pull out those clothes destined for the trash for this one. The Festival of Colors is a ritual by Hindus celebrating good over evil as well as the coming harvest of spring. People gather armed with colored water and powders which they throw on friends and family. When it’s all over, everyone is a walking rainbow. In addition, many of these celebrations include eating and drinking bhang-laced foods and drinks. Bhang is a part of the cannabis plant. This explains a lot.

Bolas de Fuego (Balls of Fire), El Salvador

This festival has been an annual event for more than 100 years. It commemorates the violent eruption of the El Playon volcano in 1658. The eruption forced the townspeople to relocate and was said to produce flaming balls of fire that destroyed the town. Today men with painted faces fling flaming rags at each other, fire codes notwithstanding. This is an event that gives the term “balls of fire” a whole new meaning.

Stiletto Run (Stiletto Laufen), Germany

Who said women weren’t tough? Women in Berlin, Germany, show their stuff in the annual Stiletto Run where they must race the length of 100 meters (approximately 109 yards) to grab up a prize of €10,000. For that kind of money, it’s a wonder men haven’t tried to take part in this event. Sponsored by Glamour magazine, one of the rules requires that heels must be at least 2.75 inches high. For most women, that’s nothing, unless she breaks a heel. Women are geniuses when it comes to dealing with broken heels, but in this contest a broken heel means disqualification.

Camel Wrestling in Turkey by flickr user yenney

Camel Wrestling (Deve Güreşi), Turkey

Who knew camels could wrestle? Not only can they wrestle, they’re pretty fierce about it. The tradition involves buffed-up men and camels who are bred and trained specifically for these events. The men who ride the camels wear armor or bright, extravagant costumes. One can only imagine what it’s like to be sitting atop a camel as it locks necks with another, biting and dragging its opponent before becoming victorious or falling in defeat. It might be safe to say that most people would rather be spit on by a camel than to participate in this violent event.

There are hundreds, possibly thousands more festivals around the world more bizarre and more dangerous. If you thought these were unusual, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Some festivals are just too strange to mention despite their popularity. However, some you just can’t ignore. Human nature and curiosity is a funny thing.

Bio – this article was written by Ross who is a freelance travel blogger and writes at blog.netflights.com and loves travel holidays

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