12 Funky Festivals Around The World That Make You Go ‘What?

Festivals are the time to meet family, partake in well-thought-out family meals, pray, and indulge in gifting. However, some festivals have nothing to do with family or family meals. These festivals are unique, bizarre, scary, or fierce, making them more attractive. These festivals are an excellent way to visit a new destination, explore its traditions, meet local people, and celebrate the community’s culture.

Read on to know the 12 most bizarre festivals around the world.

Boryeong Mud Festival, South Korea

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This famous annual festival is hosted in July by the people of Boryeong, a town on the coast of the Yellow Sea. The festival involves getting in the mud and playing muddy games like mud wrestling, mud sliding, and fireworks. And before you scrunch your nose, know that this mud comprises natural minerals and nutrients that benefit the skin. A spa treatment while you are having some fun, can’t get any better than this!

Lathmar Holi, Barsana, India

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While people know about the Indian festival of colors, Holi, not many know that Holi is played excitingly in the towns of Barsana near Mathura, U.P. men sing songs and provoke women, while women hurl sticks at the men. The unlucky men who get caught are made to wear female dresses and dance in public. The men usually wear protective gear to avoid getting bruised. While it may seem intimidating to an onlooker, it is all in good jest; people enjoy songs, dances, colors, and laths (sticks).

Burning Man, Black Rock Desert, Nevada

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The people of an artistic community who call themselves “Burners” go to the desert and build a village, a medical center, an airport, and performance stages. This week-long desert event focuses on community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance and rejects corporatism and capitalism. The festival ends with the organizers setting up a large wooden structure called “the Man.” The festival is growing as more participants flock to it every year.

Kanamara Matsuri, Japan

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One of the most bizarre festivals, Kanamara Matsuri has phalluses as its central theme. Also called the Penis Festival, the event features penis-shaped candy, toys, clothing, statues, and carved vegetables to honor the male sexual organ. According to Japanese mythology, a sex demon fell in love with a girl, but when he couldn’t have her, he started biting off men’s penis to seek revenge. Locals go to the Kanamara shrine to pray for fertility, childbirth, happy marriage, and protection from venereal diseases.

Lopburi Monkey Buffet Festival, Thailand

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Believe it or not, the Lopburi Monkey Buffet or Monkey Banquet festival is celebrated to express gratitude to the primates and involves treating them to a lavish feast. The ancient city of Lopburi, located north of Bangkok, is home to incredible ruins of historical temples and thousands of monkeys that coexist peacefully with the locals.

These monkeys are showered with respect, and as a gesture of goodwill, they are thrown a lavish feast of fruits, vegetables, sticky rice, salads, and drinks. While monkeys enjoy the banquet to the cheering of the crowds, the visitors can enjoy Thai delicacies at food stalls.

Busójárás, Mohács, Hungary

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The Buso festivities held at Mohacs in Southern Hungary are a 6-day carnival to mark the end of winter. Busos are traditionally men in frightening-looking costumes comprising wooden devilish masks and big woolly clothes. This rowdy festival involves pagan rituals that re-enact the 16th-century Battle of Mohacs, folk dancing, interactive themed activities, and plenty of spiced wine and traditional fruit brandy.

La Tomatina, Buñol, Spain

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La Tomatina (tomato fight festival) takes place on the last Wednesday of August. This hour-long-messy-brawl sees trucks hauling tons of over-ripe tomatoes in the center of the town, Plaza del Pueblo, and people hurling tomatoes at one another. Until 2013, participation in this festival was free, but since it is a ticketed event.

Up Helly Aa, Scotland

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This annual Viking Fire Festival, which marks the end of the Yule season, is held from January to March at various places in Shetland, Scotland. Members wearing Viking-style clothes carry blazing torches in the streets. The procession ends with the burning of a Viking’s galley.

Underwater Music Festival, Looe Key Reef, Florida

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Running for 31 years, this underwater music festival, sponsored by a local radio station, encourages participants to wear costumes and play underwater instruments to win prizes. The event promotes environmental sustainability and responsible diving.

World El Colacho, Spain

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The 400-year-old Devil’s Jump or Baby Jumping festival takes place annually in June. In this festival, men dressed as devils in red and yellow suits, holding whips and oversized castanets, jump over babies lying on the street on mattresses. This blend of pagan and Christian rituals is believed to ward off evil spirits and ensure a safe journey through life.

Naki Sumo, Japan

In this unique 400-year-old annual festival, sumo wrestlers make babies cry. It is believed that babies’ screams can ward off evil spirits and help children grow strong and healthy. Whoever is successful in making the baby cry first is declared the winner.

Running Of The Bulls, Pamplona, Spain

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In one of the most controversial and insane festivals, bulls are let loose in the city’s old and narrow streets. Participants are required to run in front of these bulls. This nine-day festival includes bull runs in the morning and bull fights in the evening, along with food, drinks, and engaging performances.

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