Ahh festival life! What can be better than seeing your favorite bands play night after night, dancing until dawn, while living off the land? Well not all festivals are created equal, and some of the festivals we humans put on are just downright weird. Lots of festivals are created just to embrace the music and have a central theme, others are to celebrate a certain person place or thing. The definition of the word festival brings up things like: “a day or period of celebration,” and “a program of cultural events or entertainment”. With synonyms like fair, carnival, fiesta or jamboree, a festival usually means it’s going to be a good time. Across the globe, there are some very unique and somewhat wacky festivals being hosted. Let’s take a look at 5 of the world’s weirdest festivals. It’s party time!
Ooooh, a festival about cheese you say? Well, not exactly. The Cheese Rolling Festival at Cooper’s Hill in Gloucestershire, England is a glorious event where locals and now folks from all over the world compete by running down a very steep hill after a delicious and escaping 9 lb wheel of cheese. What kind of cheese you ask? That’s besides the point! (Double Gloucester). This creamy runaway wheel can reach speeds of up to 70 mph, and the first person to the bottom wins the cheese as the prize. The history of cheese rolling is believed to have been started by the Phoenicians, who inhabited South-Western parts of Britain before the Roman invasion of 54 BC. Cheese rolling has also been linked to Pagan fertility and seasonal celebrations. Like we even need a reason to chase a wheel of cheesy deliciousness?!
Under the Sea
Sebastian from The Little Mermaid once said, “What do they got? A lot of sand? We got a hot crustacean band!” Well Florida’s Underwater Music Festival helps brings the fantasy into a reality for air guitar – or rather water guitar – enthusiasts everywhere. This festival is held at Looe Key Reef in the Florida Keys, and has been going strong for over 25 years. A local radio station broadcasts music live from speakers suspended beneath boats and attendees jam out with their underwater instruments. The event aims to raise awareness about reef protection and minimizing impact. Head on down to the keys for a good time, for a good cause, and bring your inflatable guitar with ya!
Let’s Go Muddin!
This is any Mom’s worst nightmare: the Boryeong Mud Festival held in South Korea during the summertime months. Basically, mud enthusiasts flock from around the globe to wallow in, slide down, get covered by, and generally just frolic in the mud. Supposedly this festival got it’s start as a marketing event for cosmetics companies who use the mineral rich mud in their products. There is also a “mud massage zone” for those who prefer a calmer and more relaxing mud festival experience. Make sure to wear something you’re not really picky about and bring our Dropsac to make packing all your mud covered items a cinch!
The Thaipuism Festival is typically celebrated in Southern India and Malaysia, and is a perfect getaway festival for those into extreme body modification. This Hindu festival celebrates one of their gods, Lord Murugan, a son of Shiva. On the day of the festival devotees go to all different lengths to show their devotion. Many will pierce their tongues and cheeks with metal skewers, and some even put metal hooks in their skin to pull heavy chariots and carts! The more pain supposedly you can endure, the more blessed you will be, and it’s said many stay in a trance like state. You may come home from this festival with more than just memories.
We all love buffets, even monkeys! Thailand holds the Monkey Buffet Festival annually, which provides a scrumptious meal to a population of over 3,000 hungry long-tailed macaques that many locals believe to be descendants of the Hindu deity, Hanuman. The rows of tables are laid out with over 4,000lbs of food for these happy monkeys to delight in! They have everything from fresh fruit to cakes and candies. Keep an eye on your personal belongings as rumor has it these monkeys are know to steal items from unsuspecting tourists!
This year maybe liven up your festival calendar with one of these exciting options?! Just remember to not get hit with the wheel of cheese and that people likely pay the big bucks for the strange mud you seem to be covered in.