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15 of the World’s Most Bizarre Festival Traditions—Elephant Water Fights and More

Alanganallur-Jallikattu, India

Hot pink bull during Alanganallur-Jallikattu in India

Alanganallur-Jallikattu takes place during mid-January in India each year in celebration of the harvest. This is a particularly dangerous festival and is similar to Spain’s running of the bulls. Though instead of running from a herd of bulls, in jallikattu you try to run at a bull and hold onto its horns for as long as you can. Also the bull is usually spray painted hot pink or decorated in other ways. Obviously.

Entroido, Spain

Muddy rags thrown during Entroido in Spain

Entroido is a festival in a part of Spain with Celtic heritage. And well, this is an odd one. The picture above portrays only one part of the festivities, which is when locals suit up and throw muddy rags at each other filled with flour, ash, dirt, and sometimes ants. And not just normal ants. Ants that bite and have been doused in vinegar to ensure maximum crankiness. Doesn’t every good festival include a face full of angry ants? In addition to this, there are also traditions where a group of people dressed in masks and fur costumes playfully whip people they pass, and go door to door eating peoples’ food. Another part includes a masked man going around with a cow head on a stick covered with a cloth and lifting peoples’ skirts with the cow’s horns. Oh, and there’s also scantily clad men in lingerie and the distribution of donkey body parts to villagers. Yay souvenirs! What is this, I don’t even. What?

The Monkey Buffet Festival, Thailand

The Monkey Buffet Festival, Thailand

So basically, there is a giant fruit & vegetable buffet for a ton of monkeys in Thailand each year. It doesn’t really have any deep significance; it’s mainly to promote tourism. Still odd nonetheless. It happens in November, if you have an interest in watching the monkeys get their grub on.

Thaipusam, Sri Lanka

Pierced man participating in Thaipusam, Sri Lanka

This festival takes place in various locations that have strong Tamil communities, both large and small (Thailand, Singapore, Southern India, Malaysia). It is a Hindu festival where participants carry various burdens known as kavadi. These can include carrying a simple pale filled with milk, or piercing various parts of one’s body. Cheeks, tongue, various torso surface piercings, and so on. Basically they are various ways of showing respect and asking for help from divine figures. Before the celebrations, kavadi-bearers will fast and take vows of celibacy for more than a month.

Tunarama, Australia

Tunarama, Australia

Home of the tuna toss! Participants wind up and throw tuna in discus-fashion. It initially served as a promotion for the tuna industry, and now the tuna toss has gotten enough attention that it gets itself promoted!