Quirky festivals and celebrations around the world

Posted on 25 April 2024 By Louise Bell

As the world offers a colourful mecca of different traditions, cultures, and religions, there is an abundance of unique celebrations annually across the globe. From the merriment of the local community to the fantastic decorations throughout cities, celebrating a festival is the ultimate way to immerse yourself in the unfiltered joy life has to offer.


Celebrating the world’s weird, wonderful and wacky ways – there are many unique festivals you won’t believe actually exist. From events with a long history to newly created festivals, these celebrations take over a city and transform it into a spectacular spectacle. 

Naki Sumo (Japan)

With a local festival located in the idyllic Sensoji Temple in Japan, you’ll expect a tranquil and traditional event to take place. Naki Sumo, however, is a competition between two sumo wrestlers holding babies, and one way to be named the champion is to make your baby cry first. This bizarre event has a few equally peculiar rules and regulations to ensure the competition runs smoothly:

  • If the babies cry simultaneously, the loudest cry will win the round.
  • If one baby does not cry, a masked, figured tengu (a bird demon) will come out to ensure that tears are shed.
  • You might think this festival might have a problem getting willing participants; this event is so popular that a lottery system has to be in place to choose the “lucky” contenders.

While this event might seem like an unnecessary cruelty cast on innocent younglings, it’s believed that crying babies is a sign of good health. This event dates back hundreds of years and is conducted with the utmost care for the participating babies.

Usual date: 27 April.

Lopburi Monkey Banquet (Thailand)

As monkeys are considered sacred animals in Thailand, the Lopburi Monkey Banquet is a celebration for these furry creatures, where it’s all about them. The affair begins with performances from human dancers dressed in monkey costumes.

Then, a banquet awaits the resident and surrounding monkey population, filled with a wide selection of fresh fruit and vegetables to consume. The local community believes these creatures bring good fortune and luck, so this event (with ancient historical roots) is seen as an important ceremony to commemorate these animals.

Usual date: last Sunday of November.

La Tomatina (Spain)

A festival held in the vibrant city of Buñol, La Tomatina, is definitely not for individuals wearing white. It is known as one of the largest food fight festivals in the world, where participants throw tomatoes at each other.

The festivities usually start at noon and last an hour before the tomato-throwing fun must end. This is when fire trucks are deployed to clean and spray the red-hued plains of the town centre. The festivals draw thousands of travellers worldwide, and visitors can join in on the messy madness by paying a participation fee.

Usual date: last Wednesday of August.

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