Everybody loves a good festival.
Bringing together crowds of all ages, genders and races culminating in a mass celebration of religion, sport and the arts, an enjoyable occasion for all who attend.
Then there are those of us who like to delve a little deeper into the obscurity of festival tradition, those who push the boundaries that little bit further.
So, if you’re the sort of person who prefers sustaining a tomato to the crotch over music to the ears, or chooses to get stabbed in the face rather than have your face painted, well then, the following six festivals are right down your street.
Fighting Festival, Peru
Offering exactly what it says on the tin, a mass brawl!
Citizens, including women and children, gather every Christmas to exchange blows in a festival aimed at reducing stress levels among its participants and sending the previous year’s personal issues into the past.
High on the list will surely be brawling neighbours, always playing their music too loud and borrowing tools that never get returned.
The fighting is preceded by a merry dancing procession – the calm before the storm.
Day of the Dead, Mexico
This November festival can be traced back over 2,500 years ago as a ceremony held by the Aztecs.
The festival consists of rituals celebrating the deaths of ancestors, with participants heading to their nearest cemetery to be with the souls of the departed.
Graves are tidied and decorated whilst shrines are set up in and around homes.
The favourite foods and beverages of the deceased are taken to their graves where they are left as an offering.
La Tomatina, Spain
Probably ranked amongst as one of the more famous and widely-participated bizarre festivals in the world, with people travelling from all around to throw rotting tomatoes into the face of a stranger.
The onslaught begins after a volunteer is able to knock a piece of ham off the top of a greasy pole….yes this is true.
The tomato warfare lasts for about an hour until all 90,000 pounds of tomato are splattered around the town Bunol. Amazingly this festival actually makes the town cleaner, with the acidity of the tomato disinfecting and cleaning all surfaces in the area!
This is a Hindu festival celebrated by the Tamil Hindus and it involves, basically, the piercing of numerous parts of the human body.
This is preceded by a period of fasting, the shaving of heads and then a day-long pilgrimage whilst carrying heavy items, this then culminates in the piercing, the most popular piercing locations being the cheeks and tongue.
The festival celebrates the vanquishing of an evil demon, accomplished with the use of a spear.
El Colacho, Spain
El Colacho, roughly translated as baby jumping, is a traditional Spanish practice dating back to 1620; it commemorates the Catholic feast of Corpus Christi.
During the ceremony, men dressed as the devil jump over babies born during the previous 12 months of the year.
The babies, who lie on mattresses in the street, are said to be cleansed of sin and provide them a safe passage through life.
Recently a 92 year old man was killed during the festival and several babies have been endangered, by men dressed as the devil, what do you expect?
Kanamara Matsuri, Japan
This is an annual fertility festival held in Kawasaki during spring, which, to put firmly, is centred around the penis.
Illustrations, candy, carved vegetables and decorations display the phallic wonderment, whilst a huge, and surely hilarious, parade is held in its honour.
Just as you thought it this festival couldn’t get any more bizarre – legend has it that a sharp-toothed demon hid inside the vagina of a young girl which castrated two young men on their wedding night. The young girl sought help from a local blacksmith who fashioned an iron phallus to break the demon’s teeth leading to the enshrinement of the item. Well…it could be true right?