Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Top 5 World’s Wackiest Festivals

5. El Colacho: the Baby-Jumping Festival (Spain)

In celebration of the Catholic festival of Corpus Christi, grown men leap over newborns, with full parental consent. Donning scary, vaguely Elvis-like costumes and wielding whips and truncheons, the men attempt to “cleanse” the babies of evil. Evidently, recklessly leaping over them is the best way to achieve this. The town has observed the strange practice (called El Colacho) since 1620, and any onlookers who seem to be in need of a quick exorcism are pulled into the event, as well — so look normal, by God! And leave your babies with the sitter.

4. Hadakamatsuri: The Naked Festival (Japan)

A hadakamatsuri –naked festival– is a type of Japanese festival where participants wear a minimum amount of clothing; usually just a Japanese loincloth (called fundoshi), sometimes with a short happi coat, and very rarely completely naked. Whatever the clothing, it is considered to be above vulgar, or everyday, undergarments, and on the level of holy Japanese shrine attire. Naked festivals are held in dozens of places throughout Japan every year, usually in the summer or winter. Hidden somewhere in the midst of all these men in loincloths is one fully naked man. Touching him is believed to bring good luck and happiness.
3. Up Helly-Aa: the Fire Festival (Shetland Islands)

A tribute to the islands’ Viking Past, Up Helly-Aa (“End of the Holy Days”), the fire festivals are held in Shetland annually in the middle of winter to mark the end of the yule season. The festival involves a procession of up to a thousand guizers, and culminates with the burning of a 32-ft. replica of a Viking longship. Due to the often-flamboyant costumes and the large quantity of males dressing up as females, it has earned the joke name ‘Transvestite Tuesday’.
2. The Monkey Buffet Festival (Thailand)

Every year, all of the province’s approximately 600 monkeys are invited to eat fruits and vegetables during an annual feast held in honor of Rama, a hero of the Ramayana, who, it is said, rewarded his friend and ally, Hanuman the Monkey King, with the fiefdom of what is now Lopburi. Organizers of the annual monkey buffet use more than 3,000 kg of fruits and vegetables for the festival.
1. Holi: the Festival of Colors (India)

Holi, also called the Festival of Colours, is a popular Hindu spring festival observed in India, Guyana, and Nepal. On the second day, known as Dhulhendi, people spend the day throwing colored powder and water at each other. The spring season, during which the weather changes, is believed to cause viral fever and cold. Thus, the playful throwing of the colored powders has a medicinal significance: the colors are traditionally made of Neem, Kumkum, Haldi, Bilva, and other medicinal herbs prescribed by Ayurvedic doctors.

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