5 peculiar holiday traditions
Is St. Patrick’s Day not your thing? Then try out some of these weird holidays around the world that may suit your fancy!
Tinku “Punch Your Neighbour” Festival
Where? Bolivia (Potosi and Macha)
If you have a neighbor you really hate then this festival is for you! Every May in the Bolivian Andes Mountains thousands of people go to the city of Macha to participate in the annual Tinku Festival (Tinku being a Quechua word meaning an encounter or meeting) where people literally get into fights with their neighbours. The Tinku Festival is based on an old religious festival as a blood offering for the Goddess Pachamama to ensure a good harvest. The festival, while violent, isn’t nearly as deadly or bloody as ancient times. Now police patrol the event, keeping fights one on one and ending the fights once blood is shed.
Where? Buñol, Valencia, Spain
When? The last Wednesday of August (August 27 this year!)
For those who love food fights, La Tomatina takes place during a weeklong festival in Buñol in which participants throw overripe tomatoes at each other for fun! It’s a pretty self-explanatory event, and while it is a fun and messy time there are certain rules participants must follow:
1. Tomatoes must be squashed to avoid injuries.
2. Only tomatoes are allowed to be thrown.
3. Participants must allow trucks, buses, and cars room on the road.
4. Participants are not allowed to rip off their t-shirts.
5. No tomatoes should be thrown after the second shot indicating the end of La Tomatina.
Where? The islands of Bermuda (temple of Pra Prang Sam Yot)
When? May 24
Do you have a passionate love for Bermuda shorts? If so than this holiday is for you! Bermuda Day is the first day residents of the island go into the sea, recognizing it as the official end of winter. Another holiday tradition is that Bermuda shorts are recognized as clothes of business attire on this day. Aside from wearing Bermuda shorts all day long, residents also have boat races that entire families participate in.
Monkey Buffet Festival
When? Last Sunday of November
What’s cuter than monkeys? Monkeys eating at a buffet of course! This Thai festival I thought to have origins from the Asain religious story of Rama who gave the province Lopburi to Hanuman, a monkey king. Keeping with traditions the Thai people hold the annual Monkey Buffet as tribute to Hanuman and as a tourist attractions. After all, who doesn’t want to see monkeys at a buffet?
Kanamara Matsuri (Festival of the Steel Phallus)
Where? Kanayama shrine, Kawasaki, Japan
When? First Sunday of April (April 6 this year!)
Yes, you read that right. Japan has a penis festival.
The festival is meant to promote fertility (since the penis is the ultimate symbol of fertility apparently) where participants can buy penis-shaped candy, posters, and other decorations. Its history is centered around a penis shrine that prostitutes would go and pray to for protection against sexually transmitted diseases. Nowadays Kanamara Matsuri has become a tourist attraction and money is raised for HIV research.