There are hundreds of festivals celebrated by different cultures and regions around the world. While some find their roots in religion, others are simply organized for fun. Here is a look at a few unusual ones.
The Baby Jumping Festival (El Colacho)
The El Colacho festival is an annual tradition in the Spanish Town of Castrillo de Murcia since 1620. While its exact origin is unknown, the festival is held to ward off evil spirits from the town. One of the highlights of the event is jumping over newly-born infants.
The El Colacho, a man dressed in a bright yellow and red outfit, represents the devil who runs from the entrance of a church and jumps over mattresses on which all the babies who have been born after the previous year's festival have been placed. The action symbolizes the cleansing away of all evil from the babies. Besides having the ability to ward off evil - the El Colacho has to be a great jumper too!
Monkey Buffet Festival
No - The monkeys are not stealing the food, but are the guests of honor at this awesome Monkey Party held in Lobpuri, Thailand, every year on the last Sunday in November. For once, it is the monkeys who get to feast on platters of yummy food and vegetables, while the humans drool from the sides.
Started twenty years ago, by a local businessman as a way to thank the monkeys who are the main tourist attraction, the buffet has evolved into a full-blown festival that attracts - yes you guessed it - even more tourists!
The Boryeong Mud Festival
The Boryeong Mud Festival started as fun beach event in 1998. Today, it attracts over 1.5 million visitors who throng to Boryeong, South Korea, every July, for the nine-day event that promises 'well-being through mud'. If you like the idea of mud-slides, mud massages, mud football etc. etc, this is the one festival you will definitely not want to miss!
Roswell UFO Festival
No the aliens haven't landed yet - These are just some of the participants of the UFO Festival that takes place every July in Roswell, New Mexico. The four-day event, includes many guest speakers and "Space" entertainment. While the enthusiasts do not have to attend the UFO programs, they do have to dress the part!
Wife Carrying World Championships
What started as a joke in Sonkajarvi, Finland has become a festival that is held in many cities in the world and even has a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records. The original one, now in its seventeenth year, involves running around a 253-meter track that has been set up with multiple obstacles. While there is no maximum weight, the wife has to weigh at least 110lbs in order to qualify. The reward for all this work? - The equivalent of the wife's weight in beer!
And then there is the Cheese Rolling Festival in England and the Tomato Festival in Spain - both equally fun and crazy. If you have been involved or know of any other fun festivals, be sure to add your comments below.
Sources: thai-blog.com, wikipedia.org, virginmedia.com, telegraph.co.uk