The recent Bollywood movie ‘Zindagi na Milegi Dobara’ has not only let Indians get more interested in Spain as a travel destination, but also get to know the festival of tomatoes – La Tomatina.
There are many other wacky festivals around the world and Hotels.com has put together some of the unusual events that guarantee an unforgettable holiday.
The Tomatina Festival, August – Buñol, Valencia, Spain
The Tomatina festival is one of the messiest around. Held in the Valencia region of Spain, tens of thousands of participants fight in a harmless battle where they throw 100 tons of over-ripe tomatoes at each other in the streets of the town. Celebrated on the last Wednesday of August, it is part of a week-long festival with music, parades, dancing and fireworks.
Swamp Buggy Races, Jan, Mar and Oct – Naples, Florida
Every year Florida Sports Park welcomes 70 fearless racers to Swamp Buggy Races, to take on the world famous “Sippy Hole”, named after “Mississippi” Milton Morris, a legendary driver who could almost never conquer the hole without stalling. Swamp buggies feature huge balloon tyres and gun racks and are built to cope with the vast, boggy mire known as Collier County. The first Swamp Buggy Races took place around 1943 and today many of the old traditions, such as ceremoniously dunking the Swamp Buggy Pageant Queen in slimy mud after the race, still remain.
Ice Music Festival, February 3 and 5 – Geilo, Norway
Ice Music Festival is a chamber music festival – but not as you know it. Held around a frozen lake at Kikut, all the musical instruments played are made completely of ice. Guests can experience traditional Norwegian food from Kikutkroa restaurant located close to the Ice Music festival Arena
Wildfoods Festival, March 10 – Hokitika, New Zealand
The Hokitika Wildfoods Festival is ideal for anyone with a curiosity for unusual tastes and flavours. Crowds of 20,000 people turn up every March to either watch or participate in this bush tucker style trial where people swallow crickets, chew slugs, gobble sheep’s eyes and nibble on sausages made from bulls’ penises.
World Pooh Sticks Championships, March 25 – Oxfordshire, UK
This annual tournament of Pooh Sticks, a quintessentially English game which pays homage to Pooh Bear, takes place at Days Lock in Oxfordshire. This event now attracts an international crowd who dress up in fancy dress and enter as individuals or a team. Teams of six drop colored sticks at precisely the same time into the River Thames, from two bridges at a lock, and watch to see whose stick travels down the river fastest.
The Baby-Jumping Colacho Festival, June – Castillo de Murcia, Spain
This strange event dates back to 1620 and celebrates the Catholic festival of Corpus Christi which is marked all over Spain with processions, mystery plays and a wide variety of popular celebrations. In Castillo de Murcia grown men dressed as the Devil leap over babies, an act that is known as El Colacho, which supposedly cleanses the children. The celebrations continue for a few days and are very entertaining, if a little strange.
Sonkajärvi, Northern Finland
Each year strong men carry their wives over an arduous course complete with obstacles, in the hope of winning their weight in beer. This bizarre sport stems from the early 19th century when local men had the less amusing habit of stealing women from neighbouring villages.
Les Fêtes de Bayonne, July 25 and 29 – Bayonne, France
The fêtes de Bayonne are a series of festivals in the Basque town of Bayonne. They make up the largest festival in France and participants dress in white with a red scarf and a red belt after the colours of the city of Pamplona. The event starts with a noisy and colourful fireworks display followed by bull running in the streets, bull fighting, live music, street theatre and fantastic food.
Testicle Festival, August – Rock Creek Lodge, Montana, USA
Rock Creek Lodge, just outside Missoula near Clinton, throws the world’s largest testicle festival every Autumn attracting more than 15,000 fans to its five day event. The festival feeds over 2.5 tons of deep fried bull testicles to its many hungry revellers. There is also a bull-chip throwing contest, a wet T-shirt competition and a hairy chest competition.
The Cresta Run, Dec – Mar – St Moritz, Switzerland
The Cresta Run at St Moritz Tabogganing Club is one of winter’s legendary, and most dangerous, challenges. Each year the run opens for the brave and the crazy to take their chances on the ice. The run is currently only open to men who are prepared to take tuition to participate. The challengers lie head first on a small toboggan and hurtle down the 1200m ice track steering with their shoulders at speeds of up to 90mph.