World's Weirdest Festivals

Oddball traditions say plenty about a culture

By Michael Foreman,  Newser User

Posted Jun 11, 2008 1:39 PM CDT

(Newser) – Forget museums and street markets. To truly understand a culture, travelers should take in its bizarre traditions. From fire walking to tomato hurling, Travel and Leisure looks at the world's most off-the-wall celebrations.

  • Lopburi Monkey Buffet in Thailand: Each November, Lopburi's residents lay out a feast to appease the city's greedy monkeys.

  • Inti Raymi in Cuzco, Peru: Locals in colorful costumes make offerings to the Sun God in this ancient Incan ceremony. This year, it's June 24.
  • La Tomatina in Bunol, Spain: Food fight! About 30,000 will gather in the town square in late August to chuck tomatoes at each other.
  • Hadaka Matsuri in Konomiya, Japan: Men don loincloths and chase a naked fellow for luck on the (brrr) third Saturday in February.
For the full list, click on the link below.

Balinese boys carry giant effigies of Ogoh-ogoh to ward off evil spirits on the eve of Nyepi or Hindu Day of Silence.
Balinese boys carry giant effigies of "Ogoh-ogoh" to ward off evil spirits on the eve of Nyepi or Hindu Day of Silence.   (Getty Images (by Event) Individuals)
A monkey drinks a juice in front of an ancient temple during the annual monkey buffet festival in Lopburi province.
A monkey drinks a juice in front of an ancient temple during the annual monkey buffet festival in Lopburi province.   (Getty Images)
Dressed in traditional Incan clothing, a Peruvian man makes an offering to the Sun God during Inti Raymi in New York. The fest occurs annually in Peru.
Dressed in traditional Incan clothing, a Peruvian man makes an offering to the Sun God during Inti Raymi in New York. The fest occurs annually in Peru.   (AP Photo/Silvana Ximena)
A worshipper walks on hot coals during the Anastenaria fire-walking festival in Greece.
A worshipper walks on hot coals during the Anastenaria fire-walking festival in Greece.   (Getty Images)
Loincloth-clad festival goers gather at Konomiya Shrine during Hadaka Matsuri, or Naked Festival, in Japan.
Loincloth-clad festival goers gather at Konomiya Shrine during Hadaka Matsuri, or Naked Festival, in Japan.   (Getty Images)
People enjoy throwing tomatoes to each other during the La Tomatina festival.
People enjoy throwing tomatoes to each other during the La Tomatina festival.   (Getty Images)
Competitors scramble up a tower covered in buns for the Bun Festival in Hong Kong, China.
Competitors scramble up a tower covered in buns for the Bun Festival in Hong Kong, China.   (Getty Images)
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