Strangest Holidays and Festivals From Around the World

Just how far will people go? Here are the strangest holidays and traditions that people actually celebrate.
The Top Ten
1 Lychee and Dog Meat Festival

The 10-day event is celebrated annually during one of the hottest weeks of the year. It takes place in Yulin, China, where over 10,000 (decreased to 1,000 in 2015) dogs, and sometimes cats, are slaughtered for food.

It wasn't a traditional festival by any means. In fact, the festival only started in the year 2010 by dog meat traders to boost flagging dog meat sales. Dogs are kept in a backstreet slaughterhouse, where they are beaten to death.

I won't judge them for eating dog meat, but why beat them? There are much less painful ways to get the meat.

2 The Tinku Festival

The Tinku Festival, also known as the "Punch Your Neighbor In the Face Day," is an old religious festival that takes place every May in Potosi and Macha, Bolivia, where people beat each other up.

This tradition is based in pre-Hispanic times when the earth Goddess Pachamama, whom the Incas worshiped, demanded blood to ensure a good harvest. The more blood, the better the harvest. People took this quite literally - the fights used to frequently end in death, but nowadays they are lightly policed.

3 Nenana Ice Classic

It is a contest wherein participants guess the exact time and day that the winter ice breaks up on the Tanana River at Nenana. The origin behind this tradition dates back to an especially long winter in 1917, when a group of railroad engineers placed bets on when the Tanana River would break.

The largest reward was given to a man in 2008, who won over $300,000. In addition, over 10 million dollars have been given away combined.

4 Hadaka Matsuri

Also known as the "naked man festival," the Hadaka Matsuri is celebrated usually in the summer or winter in Japan, with the holidays differing slightly from town to town.

It is led by thousands of men stripped down to a minimum amount of clothing, usually just a loincloth, in hopes of gaining luck for the entire year. Ones that take place in summer often involve parading a portable shrine through the streets or sometimes to the sea.

Ones that take place in winter include a purification ritual with water and a fight to grab a sacred object thrown by the priests, which is supposed to bring a year of happiness.

5 Lopburi Monkey Buffet

Held annually in Lopburi, Thailand, this festival includes a buffet where tables are filled with vibrantly hued fruits and vegetables for the monkeys to eat.

6 Baby Jumping
7 La Tomatina

On the last Wednesday of every August, around 30,000 people make their way to Buñol, Spain, to participate in La Tomatina, the World's Biggest Food Fight.

Participants get involved in a tomato-throwing frenzy, usually lasting for about an hour, and fire trucks are brought in afterward to wash the streets. The event has become one of the highlights of Spain's summer festivals, although there is no explanation as to why this tradition exists.

8 Goose Day

Also known as the "Antzar Eguna" or "Día de los Gansos," the Goose Day, celebrated on September 5th, is an old tradition within San Antolín festivities that can be traced back nearly 350 years. Participants attempt to behead a dead goose hanging from a rope in the middle of the town's harbor.

Why it's done, nobody knows.

9 Straw Bear Day

The festival of the Straw Bear is held every Plough Tuesday, in which a man or a boy would be completely covered in straw and would be led to houses to dance in exchange for money, food, or beer.

Though the custom died out in about 1909, it was resurrected by the Whittlesea Society in 1980.

10 The Feast of Anastenaria

The Anastenaria is a 3-day festival that begins on May 21st and takes place in Northern Greece and Southern Bulgaria. Revelers celebrate with various activities, including a procession, music and dancing, animal sacrifice, and fire-walking.

According to some legends, the ritual dates back to the Middle Ages when the Church of Saint Constantine caught fire. As the church burned, crying voices were heard inside, and it was believed that it was the cry of the saint and his mother, Saint Helena. Villagers who braved the flames returned with the icons, not burned nor hurt in any way.

The Contenders
11 Night of the Radishes

Every 23rd of December, crowds gather in Oaxaca's main square to participate in a radish-carving contest, in which a cash prize is given to the best carver. This festival is very popular and started when market vendors tried to make their produce more appealing and eye-catching by carving them.

It's such a hit that the city created a formal competition out of it, and it has become a tradition in the city ever since.

12 Wave All Your Fingers at Your Neighbors Day

Celebrated every February 7th, this is the day to greet your neighbors with a 'hello' and a big wave. Neither the creator nor the origin behind the holiday is known, but it sure is a good way to make someone's day.

13 Bonza Bottler Day
14 Cockroach Racing Day
15 The Day of the Dead
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