People across the globe celebrate all sorts of festivals – some are religious and cultural, while others are purely for entertainment purposes. In the latter category, there are some rather bizarre festivals such as the stiletto race in Ukraine, and la Tomatina, which we all know about. But have you heard of the tuna swinging competition, or the wife carrying festival? We’ve put together a list of eight such festivals from around the world.
1. Welcoming the cows festival, Switzerland
Yes, you read correct. This festival is to welcome the cows on their return from the summer pastures where they spend months grazing and is held from the months of August – October. Cows are seen as an extension of the family, so bringing them back is a reason to celebrate, and how! The guests of honours are dressed impeccably – leather collars with colourful bells stitched to them. The festival begins with a parade, tents are set up, a band is hired, and there is merrymaking all around.
It’s good to have moo back!
2. Up Helly Aa, Shetland
Up Helly Aa draws its inspiration from an ancient Viking tradition. It is held annually on the last Tuesday of January. Picture this: A torch lit procession of almost 800 men dressed as Viking warriors descend upon the streets. The preparations begin a year in advance and it’s all very hush-hush till the end. The head of the procession is referred to as the Guizer Jarl and at 7:30 pm when the torches are lit, the Guizer and his men march till the galley to set it abaze.
It’s also the largest fire festival in Europe.