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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