Zombie walk – Brighton, UK
Beach of the Dead as it’s officially known occurs in October and every year numerous “zombies” descend on the sunny, sea-side city of Brighton to take part. The first zombie walk started in 2007 but it only attracted 40 attendees, however zombies have recently risen in pop culture and thanks to this (and word of mouth) the predicted number of “zombies” taking party in this year’s 2013 walk is estimated to be 3,000. Trust me; this is a brilliant event to witness, even if you’re not getting dressed up and taking part. This event always makes me think of our scary Scrooge and Marley Christmas party!)
National Pyrotechnic Festival – Tultepec, Mexico
An annual event hosted in Tultepec, Mexico, the National Pyrotechnic Festival celebrates John of God the patron saint of fireworks. Many consider the event to be dangerous due to the lack of health and safety precautions, yet it hasn’t stopped it from being held each year. The main event is a parade of 250 bull shaped frames (also known as “toritos”) with fireworks attached to them (which are then obviously lit) “running” down the streets – showering spectators with dazzling fireworks. The event in general is considered to be one that encourages “community spirit” as Tultpec produces half of Mexico’s fireworks and many of the local people have been producing fireworks for generations.
Camel Wrestling Championship – Turkey
In the wild, male camels wrestle in competition for a female camel in heat. So it was only a matter of time till nomadic Turkic tribes got together and utilised this natural spectacle. That was 2,400 years ago and the traditional event of camel wrestling still continues on today. A camel is declared the winner when his opponent either flees from battle or falls to the ground. Other than the wrestling there are also camel beauty pageants with musicians playing flutes and drums to accompany the parade, as well as stalls selling cooked camel meat. The event takes place on Sundays in football stadiums and each match lasts approximately ten minutes.
Whilst the event may seem quite cruel, it draws tourists from all over the world and is considered to be a Turkish tradition. Plus it’s one of the most popular forms of entertainment amongst the rural Turkish community.
Alien Festival – Roswell, America
Ah the famous Roswell Alien convention, where geeks, sceptics and alien fans from all over America come to the area that was famous for that “UFO crash”. You know the one that happened on July 7th in 1974 – now known as the “Roswell Incident”. The three day event features guest speakers, science fiction authors, costume contests (for both people and pets) and several family activities for attendees to enjoy. Thinking about going? Take our advice, get into the spirit and get dressed up: you’ll look odd if you don’t wear a costume!
World Wife-carrying Championships – Finland
The origin of this sport is somewhat of a mystery with many different versions being told. However the end result is the same, competitors are required to carry a “wife” (or in this case a female teammate) through an obstacle course in the fastest time.
The official length of the track is 253.5 meters; female competitors must be over 17 years old and must weigh over 49kg. The official champion is awarded their female partners weight in beer. Prizes are also given to the most entertaining couple, the best costume and the strongest carrier will be awarded a special prize.
The Darwin Lions Beer Regatta – Australia
First held on 16th June 1974 at Vestey’s beach, the beer regatta is now organised and run by a partnership between the Three Lions Club of the Darwin region. Contestants are required to build a sea-faring vessel out of empty beers cans.
However the vessels aren’t tested for seaworthiness beforehand, so when some of them fall apart it’s all part of the day’s entertainment! Along with the actual regatta there are sub contests too including “thong throwing” and a “Henley-on-Mindil” competition which sees contestants run in bottomless boats (kind of like the Flintsone cars) to a finish line.
The Boryeong Mud Festival – Daecheon beach, South Korea
The Boryeong Mud Festival is an annual festival that sees thousands of tourists flock to Korea every year. The festival takes place over a period of two weeks and was initially a marketing stunt to promote Boryeong mud cosmetics – which is said to be rich in minerals and good for the skin.
Mud is transported from the Boryeong mud flats to the Daecheon beach area, where it’s used to create something called the “Mud Land Experience.” This involves small market stalls along the seafront selling cosmetics, massage booths and various stalls offering mud based treatments. The end of the festival is signified with a big display of fireworks.
Monkey Buffet Festival – Lopburi Province, Thailand
To give thanks to the monkeys who bring in tourists every year, this event sees the Thai locals arranging an extravagant banquet for the local monkeys who inhabit the Pra Prang Sam Yot temple in Lopburi Province. The locals also believe the monkeys bring in good luck and prosperity, so even though the little critters wreak havoc and sometimes even steal food from unsuspecting passer-by’s – nobody seems to mind!
Hadaki Matsuri (Naked Festival) – Okayama, Japan
Despite being called the naked festival, participants in this festival don’t actually go completely naked. No, they all wear something called a fundoshi which is a Japanese loincloth. Held in several different places all over the country this festival actually originates from Saidaiji Temple in Okayama where over 9,000 men participate in the festival every year which requires them to throw water and mud at one another to symbolise “purification.”
Thaipusam – Malaysia
This is a Hindu festival that takes place in any country that has a strong Tamil community. On the day of the festival devotees shave their heads and go on a set course pilgrimage, carrying various types of burdens called “Kavadi.” This is normally a pot of milk but some attendees go that extra devoted mile and carry out something called “mortification of the flesh.” This involves piercing their skin using long skewers called “vel.” This can be done through the lips, definitely not for the squeamish!