7 Bizarre Festivals Around the World

Posted on September 12, 2012 by

Each country has its own way of celebrating certain occasions, and whether we find other festivals exciting, interesting, or weird, they definitely aren’t what you might be used to. Here are ten bizarre festivals from around the world, where bizarre can also mean odd, strange, or fantastic.

1 Holi Festival

Also known as the the Festival of Colours, Holi is celebrated by Hindus in locations such as India, Nepal, and Bangladesh, and places infused with a large Indian population such as the United Kingdom. Holi is a religious festival held at the start of spring, to welcome the new season and bid a farewell to the wintertime, as well as paying respects to the Hindu mythology. It is celebrated by throwing colored powder and dye, all in good, clean fun (though we may not be able to guarantee the ‘clean’ aspect).
Holi Festival
Flickr photo by No Lands Too Foreign 

2 Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling

Named after its location at Cooper’s Hill by Gloucester, England, the name of festival nearly speaks for itself. Every year in late may, a round of a seven to nine pound Double Gloucester cheese is released from the top of a hill, only to have a crowd of runners chase after it–the first competitor at the bottom of the hill is not only the winner, but the prizewinner of the cheese as well.
Wikipedia Photo from Dave Farrance

3 La Tomatina

Since around 1944, La Tomatina has been held in Buñol, Spain on the last Wednesday of August. It is basically the largest food fight–with tomatoes–in the world, but the actual fighting and throwing of crushed tomatoes only lasts one hour. Nearly twenty-thousand visitors from around the world visit Spain to participate, and over ninety-thousand pounds of tomatoes are used. But with such chaos, there are rules to be followed.  If you happen to be caught in Buñol on the last Wednesday of August, we can only hope you enjoy tomatoes and that you’re not wearing your best white shirt.
La Tomatina 2006
Flickr photo by puuikibeach

4 Running of the Bulls

Called ‘encierro’ in its home language, the Running of the Bulls takes place every year on July 7th to July 14th in Spain, with the most popular city for the event being Pamplona. There are twelve animals total, six bulls and six steers for the bulls to calm them down and guide them in the correct direction. The encierro is open for participation by anyone who is eighteen or older and is not under the influence of alcohol; the basic description of this event is to run before, beside, or away from the bulls and hope that no injury is involved. This seemingly dangerous activity results in about two to three hundred minor injuries like bruises.

Whose Afraid of the Big Bad Bull
Flickr photo by LpstkLibrarian

5 Baby Jumping

Also from Spain originates El Colacho, a celebration that takes place every year in Castrillo de Murcia. The festival consists of a devil-dressed man who jumps over babies laying on a mattress born within the past twelve months. This ritual is said to lift off sin of the babies and help them through life with safety and health, though it is not a surprise that it is considered one of the most dangerous festivals on earth.
El colacho saltando
Wikipedia Photo by Celestebombin

6 Boryeong Mud Festival

The mud around Daecheon beach in South Korea is believed to contain properties that make the skin healthier, and is even used in skincare products. To give people a sample of what the mud is like, every year during the summer, people are allowed to take mud baths, ride through mud slides, paint their bodies with colored mud, and nearly anything you can think of doing when you think about mud.
Boryeong Mud Festival 2008
Wikipedia Photo by Stinkie Pinkie

7 Hadaka Matsuri

‘Matsuri’ in Japanese means festival, and ‘hadaka’ means naked; so every year in either in January or February, several places in Japan celebrate the Naked Festival. The participants aren’t actually naked–they just wear the least clothing they can, which is usually  a loincloth. The participants are also only male (which explains the loincloth), and there’s about nine-thousand of them, who try to catch coveted, lucky sticks, or good luck charms in general. Whoever does so is said to have a year of happiness.
No wind, luckily
Flickr photo by calltheambulence

About Elica Sue

Elica is WildJunket's web editor. She grew up with an exposure to a menagerie of culture, language, and art. She is a student who is enamored with learning and pursuing what she is most passionate about: writing, photography, and traveling. She blogs at Travelengua.

9 Responses to “7 Bizarre Festivals Around the World”

  1. Nikki Wynn September 12, 2012 8:07 pm #

    the cheese rolling was already on our bucket list but I think the Holi festival just got added!

  2. Daniel McBane September 13, 2012 5:57 am #

    I had no idea what to expect when I read the "Baby Jumping" title. After seeing the picture, I don't really know what else I could have possibly been expecting. I guess as long as they get jumpers who can actually jump and not people like me who have a one-inch vertical, the babies will be safe.

  3. JoyCheapCarHire September 17, 2012 5:26 am #

    These are seriously bizarre! I had never heard of #5 and #7. But I guess all of these are worth experiencing once! Cool List! :)

  4. listas barcelona November 20, 2012 9:35 pm #

    I have read a few excellent stuff here. Definitely price bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how a lot effort you put to make this type of excellent informative website.

  5. Canyoning Wales March 27, 2013 9:01 am #

    I can check off two of the festivals mentioned above. I've always wanted to try the Holi Festival. One of my friends attended it a few years back and by the sounds of things had an amazing time. He highly recommends it anyone wanting to give it a try.

  6. festival penang June 4, 2013 7:55 pm #

    My first impression for this was very cool especially that "running of the bulls" event that people not scared about the strength of a said mammal.


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