The world’s weirdest festivals to be held in 2017

From flying goats and gigantic pretend penises to punch a neighbour day, these are the world’s oddest festivals according to The Sun – and their dates, if you dare

1. MUD FESTIVAL, SOUTH KOREA

WHEN: July 21-30.

WHAT: Mud, glorious mud and thousands of revellers covered in the stuff.

The Boryeong Festival takes place every July on Daecheon Beach, a 3km-stretch of perfect white sand on the country’s southwest coast.

The mineral-rich mud supposedly has healing and cosmetic properties and thousands of tourists and locals of all ages flock to the festival for mud baths, mud massages, mud painting, mud football… and mud wrestling.

Energetic visitors can try the marine mud-training course, while those looking for something a little more chilled can relax in the mud massage zone.

Aside from all that glorious mud, there is also an impressive line-up of pop and hip-hop performers.

2. GOAT THROWING, NORTHERN SPAIN

WHEN: January 23.

WHAT: The tiny village of Manganeses de la Polvorosa, in the province of Zamora, holds its annual Festival of St Vincent every January.

This traditionally begins with young men tossing a live goat from the top of a 15-metre church belfry into the crowd below.

They, hopefully, catch the flying beast in a tarpaulin sheet, before parading it through the streets.

The custom supposedly began when a legendary goat, which fed the local poor with its milk, fell out of the tower but landed safely.

Before you panic, this is not a real goat. Until 15 years ago, a real animal was used to replicate the fall but now — after a couple of misses and increased pressure from activists — a replica is thrown.

3. NAKED FESTIVAL, OKAYAMA, JAPAN

WHEN: February 18.

WHAT: This bizarre religious event has up to 10,000 grown men in loincloths battle to grab two lucky sticks thrown out of a window by a priest.

Anything goes at the night time celebration at the Saidaiji Temple in Okayama.

Held on the third Saturday in February, the festival celebrates the blessings of a bountiful harvest, prosperity and fertility.

The sticks themselves are considered sacred talismans and grant a year of health, wealth and happiness to whoever can grab one and hang on to it.

4. CHEESE ROLLING, GLOUCESTERSHIRE

WHEN: May 29.

WHAT: Every spring bank holiday weekend in the UK, thousands of people head to the West Country to watch competitors chase cheeses down the insanely steep Cooper’s Hill, Gloucestershire.

The target is a 4kg wheel of Double Gloucester, which is given a one-second headstart on the runners and can reach speeds of 113kmh on its descent.

There are spectacular falls and injuries each year, despite official “catchers” from nearby Brockworth Rugby Club waiting at the bottom as a human safety net.

5. FIGHT FIESTA, MACHA, BOLIVIA

WHEN: May 7.

WHAT: Usually, it’s bad form to punch your neighbour.

But in the Bolivian city of Macha and its surrounding villages, it is encouraged during “Tinku”.

A kind of Andean Fight Club, the 600-year-old festival involves thousands of men drinking homemade spirits then brawling in the street. Rocks are commonly thrown as well as fists.

Death is not uncommon during the raucous drunken festival, but those who survive without serious injury celebrate afterwards with enormous feasts, live music and elaborate traditional dances.

6. FESTIVAL OF THE STEEL PHALLUS, KAWASAKI, JAPAN

WHEN: April 2.

WHAT: Kawasaki is famous for two things: legendary motorbikes, and a big metal penis.

Every April, the town hosts the Kanamara Matsuri (Festival of the Steel Phallus), which marks its 40th anniversary in 2017.

The phallus-themed parade celebrates the legend of a woman who outwitted a demon inside her vagina.

“D*ck radishes” and lifelike lollipops are on hand if you get peckish, while revellers are encouraged to get on their knees before gigantic inflatable pink, orange and black phalluses.

7. BABY JUMPING, NORTHERN SPAIN

WHEN: June 18.

WHAT: “El Colacho” is a 400-year-old ritual in Castillo de Murcia, which involves newborns being laid on pillows in the street.

The confused infants — all born in the village in the preceding 12 months — are then leapt over by grown men dressed as yellow devils: a kind of ancient aerial baptism to absolve them of Original Sin.

Conventionally, a christening would suffice — a point often made by the Catholic Church — but the locals are fiercely protective of their tradition.

8. WIFE-CARRYING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, FINLAND

WHEN: June 30 to July 1.

WHAT: This one has men racing each other down an obstacle course with their “wives” on their backs (singletons are allowed to use “stunt wives”).

Three techniques are officially recognised: piggyback, fireman’s lift or “Estonian-style” — the woman hanging upside down, with her legs wrapped around her partner’s neck while she grasps his waist.

The winner of the event, which takes place in the remote town of Sonkajärvi, is rewarded with his wife’s weight in beer.

9. WORLD BODY PAINTING FESTIVAL, AUSTRIA

WHEN: July 28 to 30.

WHAT: As it sounds, this is a weekend of bare artistry and boundary-pushing, where the official motto is: “Let your imagination run free.”

Held at a castle in the remote town of Klagenfurt am Woerthersee, the colourful event celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, with what promises to be the biggest festival to date.

As ever, the highlight is an enormous dance party called “Body Circus” where pretty much anything goes — as long as it’s painted first.

10. BALLS OF FIRE, EL SALVADOR

WHEN: August 31.

WHAT: The town of Nejapa hosts an annual festival that dates back more than a century, where teams of locals get together and fight with fireballs.

Established in honour of a huge volcanic eruption in 1658, the event involves two groups hurling blazing, gasoline-soaked rags at each other.

Despite sounding like a health-and-safety nightmare, injuries are rare.

The day starts with a music festival and as darkness falls, the fireball slinging begins. (Tourexpi)

 

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