Events & Festivals

Most Bizarre Festivals in the World

Film festivals, jazz festivals, art festivals and food festivals too normal and banal for you? Discover ten festivals that push the envelope.

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The Battle of the Oranges
Where: Ivrea, Piemonte, Italy
When: Carnival, before Lent

In food fracas lore, La Tomatina in Buñol, Valencia, Spain is the crème de la crème. But Piemonte’s pre-Lent citrus bash is arguably more violent (oranges can hurt, after all) and bizarre.

Where to stay: Grand Hotel Sitea Turin

Torino City Guide

The Night of the Radishes
Where: Oaxaca de Juárez, Oaxaca, Mexico
When: December 23

Root veg sculptors festoon UNESCO World Heritage Oaxaca’s zócalo with radish art two days before Christmas.

Where to stay: Hotel De La Parra Oaxaca

Torino City Guide

Thaipusam
Where: India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Mauritius, Singapore
When: January / February

While the Hindu festival of Thaipusam is not inherently off the wall, the abasement of the flesh and pain rituals that accompany the Tamil holy day are undoubtedly way-out.

Where to stay: Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur City Guide

International Birdman
Where: West Sussex, England
When: August

The International Birdman is a quirky event in West Sussex that lures contestants in DIY kit to jump (and hopefully fly) off the end of a pier.

Where to stay: Bulgari Hotels & Residences London

London City Guide

Tunarama
Where: Port Lincoln, South Australia
When: late January

Tunarama shines the spot on Port Lincoln’s pillar industry and infamously concludes with a ‘Tuna Toss’ event.

Where to stay: Port Lincoln Hotel

Port Lincoln City Guide

Kila Raipur Sports Festival
Where: Punjab, India
When: February

Rural Olympics exist from Canada to China but one in Punjab, the Kila Raipur Sports Festival some 20 km south of Ludhiana, takes the cake for sheer whimsy and complete lack of irony.

Where to stay: Park Plaza Hotel Ludhiana

Ludhiana City Guide

Boryeong Mud Festival
Where: Daecheon, South Chungcheong Province, South Korea
When: July

Over 2.2 million visitors congregate in the small city of Boryeong, 200 km from Seoul, every July for the most epic – and bizarre – of mud battles.

Where to stay: Artnouveau City I Yeoksam Serviced Residence Seoul

Seoul City Guide

Air Guitar World Championships
Where: Oulu, Northern Ostrobothnia, Finland
When: August

Before Finland put it on a pedestal, air guitar was what jobless losers did to pass the time in mom’s basement. What was a shameful hobby with questionable merit is now legit (somewhat) thanks to the Oulu Music Video Festival.

Where to stay: Radisson Blu Hotel Oulu

Oulu City Guide

Monkey Buffet Festival
Where: Lopburi Province, Thailand
When: November

Thailand is masterful at self-PR via cultural festivals. One exemplar is the Monkey Buffet Festival north of Bangkok, which involves some 2,000 primates and a whole mess of fruit and veg.

Where to stay: Grande Centre Point Ratchadamri Hotel Bangkok

Bangkok City Guide

Redneck Games
Where: East Dublin, Georgia, United States of America
When: June

Events like the cigarette flip, toilet seat toss and armpit serenade make the Redneck Games south of Atlanta the most moronic and bizarre of them all.

Where to stay: The Ritz Carlton Hotel Buckhead Atlanta

Atlanta City Guide

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