It’s said that there is someone for everyone, and maybe the same could be said about festivals. If you want to have a real great time, if plunging into the world’s odd and wacky is your flavor, then check out these bizarre celebrations around the world. You wouldn’t believe what some people do en masse for fun.
From cheese rolling to jumping over babies, these are some of the most unique celebrations on earth. While monkey buffets, nude men battling and the praising of genitals may be common in some parts of the world, these festivals most definitely make our list of the most bizarre, twisted and downright strangest festivals in the world.
Here are some of the strangest festivals you will probably ever see, but I’ve been to one of them.
1. Kanamara Matsuri
Every year, people from the town of Kawasaki in Japan take part in a festival, The Shinto Kanamara Matsuri. The penis, as the central theme of the event, is reflected in illustrations, candy, carved vegetables, decorations, and a mikoshi parade.
The Kanamara Matsuri is centered around a local penis-venerating shrine once popular among prostitutes who wished to pray for protection from sexually transmitted diseases. It is said that there are also divine protections for business prosperity and for the clan’s prosperity; and for easy delivery, marriage, and married-couple harmony. There is also a legend of a sharp-toothed demon (vagina dentata) that hid inside the vagina of a young woman and castrated two young men on their wedding nights. As a result, the young woman sought help from a blacksmith, who fashioned an iron phallus to break the demon’s teeth, which lead to the enshrinement of the item.
2. Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake
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.
The event is traditional. 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.
3. 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 naked. This festivals are held in dozens of places throughout Japan every year, usually in the summer or winter. The most famous festival is the Saidai-ji Eyo Hadaka Matsuri held in Okayama, where the festival originated. Dating back 500 years, over 9,000 men participate in the Naked Festival – Hadaka Matsuri – every year in Okayama, Japan. Every year, over 9,000 men participate in this festival.
A Shinto priest throws a pair of lucky sticks into the crowd at midnight and the men must duke it out until a winner finally secures them in his grasp. Tradition dictates that if the winning man puts the sticks into a wooden box with rice, he will be happy the whole year. This is a highly valued tradition in Okayama.
4. Monkey Buffet Festival
The Monkey Buffet Festival is held annually in Thailand to promote tourism. While one might think this festival is a buffet of monkeys, it is actually a buffet for monkeys. The macaque monkey population in Lopburi is so large, it would be considered a pest in nearly any other part of the world. In Lopburi, however, they are revered. Thought to be the descendants of a monkey warrior, the locals believe the macaque monkeys bring good fortune, and are allowed to roam freely among the people. To honour these so-called good-luck monkeys, a festival is thrown every year with over 2,000 kilograms of fruits, vegetables and other monkey-friendly treats for the animals to enjoy.
5. Cat Food Festival
The Cat Food Festival held annually in Cañete , south of Lima , the day of Santa Ifigenia , protective black art . The festival takes place in the month of September , sacrificing himself for the occasion about fifty cats .
In the same preparations are different dishes with cat meat , such as schnitzel , huacatay or greaves . Animals are bred and fattened especially for human consumption.
According to popular belief, the cat meat has properties aphrodisiac and prevent ailments in the bronchi.
6. Baby Jumping Festival | El Salto del Colacho
This is one of Spain’s more weird annual festivals which has taken place in the Province of Burgos since 1621. During the act, known as El Salto del Colacho (the devil’s jump) or simply El Colacho, men dressed as the Devil (known as the Colacho) jump over babies born during the previous twelve months of the year who lie on mattresses in the street. The festival has been rated as one of the most dangerous in the world. The origins of the tradition are unknown but it is said to cleanse the babies of original sin, ensure them safe passage through life and guard against illness and evil spirits.
7. Festival of the Horns | Festa del Cornuto
Has your wife or girlfriend ever cheated on you? If so, this festival may be of some interest. Every year, Rocca Canterano, a city outside of Rome, celebrates Festa del Cornuto — Festival of the Horns. In Italian culture, the horns represent a man who has been cheated on. The association is said to date back o the Roman Empire. Many warriors left for battle for extended periods of time. Upon their return, they were given a pair of horns as a gift. However, when they returned to their homes, they often found their wives had left them for other men. So the term “cornuto” began to refer to a man who has been cheated on. In Rocca Canterano, men who have been wronged by their better halves march through the streets, sometimes weeping or breaking objects given to them by their former lovers. The parade is meant to honour and console the men.
8. Pamplona Bull Run
The Bull Run is part of the Fiesta San Fermin, which runs from July 6th to the 14th every year. Basically, a group of charging, angry bulls are released, chasing men down the streets for over 800 metres. The goal? To get away before a half-ton bull knocks you down. Since the Bull Run tradition began in 1910, there have been nearly 300 people injured and 15 killed. The cause of death is usually goring by a bull, with only one death a result of being hit by the bull’s horns. Despite the physical harm a bull can cause to a human, particularly during a bull run, these animals are highly respected among the Spanish people.
The origin of this event comes from the need to transport the bulls from the off-site corrals where they had spent the night, to the bullring where they would be killed in the evening. Youngsters would jump among them to show off their bravado. Spanish tradition says the true origin of the run began in northeastern Spain during the early 14th century.
9. Roswell UFO Festival
The Roswell UFO incident, also known as Roswell, was a report of an object that crashed near Roswell, New Mexico, in June or July 1947, allegedly an extra-terrestrial spacecraft and its alien occupants. The Roswell Army Air Field was quoted as saying a “flying disk” had been recovered from the scene. The following day, the statement was retracted and changed to say a weather balloon was what was found. This sparked immediate controversy among the population, who most certainly believed aliens had landed and the government was attempting a coverup.
Over 60 years later, the debate continues. To celebrate their belief that aliens have landed on earth in the city of Roswell, there is an annual parade where patrons can dress up in alien-like costumes and attend brief conferences given by alien experts and authors. However, these alien activists don’t discriminate. Non-believers of the alien theory are also welcome to enjoy the festivities and dress up.
10. Turkey Testicle Festival
A Testicle Festival is an event held at several small towns in which the featured activity is the consumption of animal testicles, usually battered and fried. The oldest such festival takes place in Byron, Illinois, and features turkey testicles. Similar festivals are held in Olean, Missouri, Oakdale, California, Huntley, Illinois, and Missoula, Montana, some of which feature cattle testicles.
Every year in September the village of Ozrem, Serbia, hosts the World Testicle Cooking Championship. The festival serves up a variety of testicles, including wildlife. It also gives awards for “ballsy” news makers. U.S. President Barack Obama and pilot Chesley Sullenberger won awards in 2010.