Ajay Junaid
January 28, 2019
Reading Time: 5 Minutes

Each city has its own slightly ridiculous side when it comes to annual festivals, events and/or championships. Whether it’s jumping over babies or lying in a coffin, we’ve got a whole list of weird and wonderful experiences.

Battle of the Oranges

Video Credits: AFP news agency via YouTube

Dates: February

Location: Ivrea, Italy

A small town in northwestern Italy plays host for three-days to Italy’s biggest food fight.

Just your average small italian town where locals cheer on the their football clubs, the men play draughts in between their naps - nothing to out of the ordinary. That is until February rolls around where they gather into nine tribes and are covered in armor from head to toe and hurl oranges at one another with extreme aggression.

Now an orange may not seem that violent, but it is in fact natures baseball - and 256,000 kg of nature’s baseballs are tossed around the town, leaving the town streets paved in pulp and funnily enough so much citric acid is released that it actually helps clean the cobblestone.

Strangeness Rating: 6/10

International Hair Freezing Contest

Video Credits: ODN via YouTube

Dates: February

Location: Yukon, Canada

As crazy as it sounds, it’s actually a fun winter celebration that takes place every February at the Takhini Hot Pools in the frosty province of Yukon, Canada.

How does one freeze their hair, you might ask? Well the contestants dip their heads in the hot water of the pools and then begin to create a frosty hairdo as they freeze in the cold air above.

How cold does it get? Temperatures within Yukon can reach below a staggering -30ºC.

What do you win? A small cash prize.

Strangeness Rating: 6/10

Saidai-ji Eyo Hadaka Festival

Image Credits: Pop Japan

Dates: February

Location: Okayama, Japan

A male-only, practically naked event that brings participants from all over japan into a temple to catch 2 “shingi” - lucky sticks. He who wins the shingi is then referred to as the “Fukuotoko (lucky man)” and will receive great health and fortune for the rest of the year.

Men can only wear a loincloth and you may think it’s pretty cold in Japan in November, but you’d be wrong as they all huddle together within the temple in order to be the first to try and grab the items.

Winning the title of ‘Fukuotoko’ is the ultimate honor of the year. The intensity and sheer craziness of the 10,000 men scrambling around for the shingi is definitely a factor or pride. Sounds very sporty.

Strangeness Rating: 7/10

Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake

Video Credits: National Geographic via YouTube

Dates: Spring Bank Holiday (End of May)

Location: Gloucester, England

Gloucester - a city that boasts over 2,000 years of history dating back to the Roman times, however, when May rolls around it turns into one of the world’s largest cheese rolling spectacles.

The little village of Brockworth plays host to this absurd competition annually where grown adults gather to chase a rolling nine-pound wheel of Double Gloucester cheese down a pretty steep hill. Competitors catapult themselves after it, rolling, crashing, almost free-falling toward the bottom of the hill.

How do you win? One lucky athlete who grabs hold of the giant cheese wheel and raises it above his or her head at the bottom of the hill triumphs.

What do you win? Ironically, the big wheel of cheese that you’ve more or less injured yourself over.

Strangeness Rating: 5/10

El Colacho AKA Baby Jumping FestivaImage credits: Lonely Planet via YouTube

Image credits: Lonely Planet via YouTube

Dates: Between May and June

Location: Castrillo De Murcia, Spain

Since 1620, El Colacho has been a yearly tradition in the small town of Castrillo De Murcia in Spain. The patrons of this festival are primarily dressed in black coaks, hats, and capes - almost giving off the feeling of the Da Vinci Code. Not only that, they also have a man parading around dressed like the devil in a very impressive medieval outfit whilst rocking some classic Adidas running shoes.

For almost 400 years, infants born 12 months prior to the Catholic Feast Day of Corpus Christi are laid on mattresses across the town for a devil incarnate to leap over and thus transferring the sins from the newborns to the devil.

Strangeness Rating: 9/10

Wife Carrying World Championship

Video Credits: The Telegraph via YouTube

Dates: July

Location: Sonkajärvi, Finland

Wife carrying originated as an actual sport in Finland, in 1992. All carrying methods are valid, whether it’s piggyback, fireman’s carry or Estonian-style (where the wife hangs upside-down and her legs are wrapped around her partner’s shoulders) they’re all accepted.

The aim is to finish in the fastest time on a 254 meter track that is laid out with multiple obstacles.

The grand prize? Your wife’s weight in beer!

Why do they do this? Well, in the late 1800’s a brigade would only accept troops who had proved their worth on a challenging track and in those days, it was very common to steal women from neighbouring villages. Yikes!

Strangeness Rating: 5/10

Fiesta de Santa Marta de Ribarteme AKA Near Death Festival

Image Credits: Eye on Spain

Dates: July 29th

Location: Las Nieves, Spain

A festival of life and death.

If you thought the baby jumping festival was strange, boy are you in for a treat with the Near Death Festival. If you’ve been through a near-death experience within the 12 months prior to the festival then you’ll be carried around town inside a coffin by your mourning relatives - slightly morbid.

Although the Spanish do like to enjoy themselves so expect it to be done in true Spanish fiesta fashion with lots of drinking, dancing, and fireworks.

Strangeness Rating: 8/10

Burning Man

Video Credits: Ignite Movie via YouTube

The video may be 17 minutes long but I can guarantee you will not be disappointed!

Dates: August 26 - September 2 2019

Location: Black Rock Desert, Nevada, USA

Whether it’s a list of strange festivals or the best festivals - Burning Man will surely make the list every time! Essentially, an artistic community that comes together once a year to create and dismantle an entire city within the desert.

Founded in 1986 in San Francisco - it’s not only a festival it’s also a mindset, how you approach the festival will decide the outcome of your experience at the festival. Creating a gathering of people who forget about their ordinary way of life and create a new and developed society based on self-reliance, community cooperation, self-expression and respect.

Culminated by burning a large wooden man, which can measure in upwards of 105 feet - a beautiful spectacle. As the festival comes to a close the attendees aim to leave no mark of their week by restoring the environment to exactly the way it was before they arrived.

If you’re actively seeking an experience that combines spiritualism and craziness, then Burning Man is most certainly for you.

Strangeness Rating: 4.5/10

La Tomatina

Video Credits: Business Insider via YouTube

Dates: August 28, 2019

Location: Bunol, Spain

‘The World’s Biggest Food Fight’.

La Tomatina has ran annually since 1945 in a tiny Valencian town and has been branded as a once-in-a-lifetime experience. An epic battle that involves throwing 145,000 kg of over-ripe tomatoes at one another.

However, it actually only lasts for one hour and after the battle has commenced, trucks spray down the streets and the participants find themselves cleaning up in the pool of “los penones”. The week leading up to the hour of tomato tossing is filled with music, fireworks, parades, and paella cooking contests.

Strangeness Rating: 6/10

Monkey Buffet Festival

Video Credits: National Geographic via YouTube

Dates: November

Location: Lopburi, Thailand

It’s not at all what it sounds like, I promise. You won’t have to worry about how a monkey tastes, it’s a buffet for monkeys.

An annual event, where residents offer up to four and a half tons of fruits, vegetables and candy to the 2,000 - 3,000 monkey population in the Lopburi province, just north of bangkok. The fun does not stop there, once the monkeys have feasted, the local youths dress up as monkeys and perform dances as a form of entertainment.

It all started in the late 1980’s as a means of driving tourism in Lopburi - and would you look at that, it’s working.

Strangeness Rating: 5/10