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The world's 10 weirdest festivals

27th June 2012

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For most students, the thought of a festival conjures up thoughts of dirty wellies, questionable toilets and a lot of people crammed into one space listening to music they paid a hefty fee to hear.

Different types of festivals might be considered more sedate: beer festivals, food festivals, jazz festivals.

The ten festivals on this list fall don’t fall into either of these categories, and show just why people aren’t lying when they say ‘life would be boring if we were all the same’. Take a look at ten of the weirdest festivals around and see why…

1. La Tomatina. If being covered head to toe in tomatoes sounds more appealing that the British version of a festival, then head over to Buñol, Spain. Participants in this August festival throw tomatoes at each other for… well, just for fun really. Who needs a reason?

2. Testicle Festivals. Yes, you read that right, there isn’t just one of these wonderful festivals, there’s several. The oldest testicle festival – that is, festivals where the sole purpose is to consume battered or fried balls – is in Byron, Illinois, and features turkey testicles, but the idea was obviously such a success that you can chew on various types of testicles at several exclusive locations across the US. Oh, and if you’d like a real challenge, why not try the World Testicle Cooking Championship in Ozrem, Serbia? You’re welcome.

3. Cheese Rolling Festival. This one’s a bit closer to home – the annual cheese rolling contest at Cooper’s Hill in Gloucestershire takes place on the late spring bank holiday Monday, and boasts that it attracts people from all over the world. Basically, a round of Double Gloucester cheese is rolled down a hill with a one second head start, and participants hurl themselves down after it, with the hope of being first over the finish line and proud owner of a new slab of cheese. Just don’t get in the way, because although Double Gloucester may seem tame, it can reach speeds of 70mph.

4. The Baby Jumping Festival (El Colacho). In this weird and wonderful festival dating back to 1620, men dressed as the Devil jump over babies who were born in the last year, who lounge innocently on mattresses in the street. The festival is supposed to cleanse the little ones of sin, but its strange event rates it as one off the most dangerous festivals in the world.

5. Gulal Throwing Festival. If tomatoes don’t sound like your thing, why not try brightly coloured powder instead? This Indian festival involves covering everyone and everything in powder – just pity the person that has to clean it up.

6. Festival of near death experiences. One of the more macabre on the list, the Spanish festival of near death experiences involves parading people down the street who have had their brush with death in the last year. Not too bad? How about the fact they are laid down in open coffins? One thing’s for sure, jumping straight into a coffin wouldn’t be on the top of my list of things to do after I’d nearly died.

7. Oulu Music Video Festival. Or more specifically, the Air Guitar World Championships that take part during the festival. Who said all that prancing around in halls you did was useless? Why not get the credit you deserve at this Finnish event?

8. Roswell UFO Festival. You’ve probably heard of the Roswell UFO incident as one shrouded in conspiracy theories, and this festival invites believers and sceptics alike to come and debate the issue. There are lectures, contests, and an ‘alien chase’, which you might be disappointed to hear only really involves a 5k or 10k run, with a very optional fancy dress code. Get all images of chasing little green men out of your mind.

9. Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw Festival. Participants in this festival throw dried cow pat – they aren’t allowed gloves, but they are allowed to lick their fingers before they throw them (well, that’s alright then).You might screw your nose up, but the event attracts an impressive 40,000 people a year, and just in case you’re wondering, the record stands at 248 feet. Beat that!

10. Penis Festival. Ever heard the expression, only in Japan? No? Well, it seems particularly relevant with the penis festival, where everything is shaped like a penis - a Japanese sign of fertility. People make penises out of whatever they can find, eat penis shaped food and parade giant penises through the streets. Sounds a lot like hard work if you ask me...

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