Strange Festivals From Around The World

Fall festival season is in full swing now, getting people out and about on the crisp autumn weekends. Some festivals are annual events across town, others take a road trip or weekend getaway to see. In the United States, many have a common theme that includes pumpkins, hay and cider somewhere along the way. In other parts of the world, annual festivals at different times of the year offer a measure of tradition and have been held for decades. Others are just plain odd but they bring some of the most fun that distant lands have to offer.

Sakon Nakhon Wax Castle Festival
Coming up in October, Thailand has the Sakon Nakhon Wax Castle Festival, marking the end of Buddhist Lent. During the festival, the people of Sakhon Nakhon gather in a celebration, which includes a Wax Castle procession, longboat races and cultural performances. Originally using beeswax to make different kinds of flowers, attached to banana tree trunks, today’s festival features castles, temples and shrines paraded around the city showcasing local skill and wisdom.

[Flickr photo by e-dredon]

The Battle of Oranges
Basically a huge food fight, the Battle of Oranges is a festival in the Northern Italian city of Ivrea, which includes a tradition of throwing of oranges between organized groups. During the three-day Orange hurling brawl, the city will go through 50,000 cases of oranges (about 400 tons) as townspeople will get dressed up to re-enact a Middle Age battle. Those dressed as Middle Age kings’ guards, throw oranges at others dressed as foot soldiers as thousands of people gather to watch.

[Flickr photo by Giò-S.p.o.t.s.]

The Night of the Radishes
Mexico has their Day of the Dead festival held in November, a centuries-old tradition that honors those who have died with a walking procession through town in a Mardi Gras sort of way. The Night of the Radishes comes in December and is an exhibition of sculptures made from large red radishes especially grown for this event. It is held only in Oaxaca, Mexico, which is the name of both a state in Mexico and that state’s capital city. Winners get their photo published in the local paper and win a prize, but the festival has more than a century been a focal point of Christmas celebrations in Oaxaca.

Flickr photo by drewleavy

World Bodypainting Festival
The World Bodypainting Festival is an annual festival happens in Austria. The week-long painting fest is the biggest annual event of the body painting culture and community, drawing the best body painting artist teams and models as well as thousands of visitors, from all over the world. The artists compete in many categories from brush and sponge to airbrush and special effects. There is a World Facepainting Award and a special award for special effects face make up. Artists use mostly volunteer male or female models as they wish and female models can go topless if they want.

[Flickr photo by r3dst0rm]

International Bognor Birdman
The International Birdman is a series of two competitions held in West Sussex, England, that have human ‘birdmen’ attempting to fly off the end of a pier into the sea for prize money. The competition brings serious aviators mainly flying hang-gliders and people in costume with little or no actual flying ability, raising money for charity. Initially, there was a prize of £1,000 for anyone who could travel beyond 50 yards but over time that increased to £30,000 for reaching 330 feet.

[Flickr photo by DavidQuick]

But one of the strangest festivals around has to be Thailand’s Face Piercing Festival that we see in this video.

[Flickr photo (top) by roberthuffstutter]