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The world’s weirdest events

The world can sometimes be a really strange place, but what’s so bad about that. When you see something weird doesn’t it bring a smile to your face? We've put together a list of the weirdest events on the planet to inspire you to get out and remember that weird is wonderful.  

Tar Barrels. Image courtesy of Hans Zinsli.

Tar Barrels - Ottery St Mary’s Devon, UK (November)

This incredible traditional event occurs in the tiny village of Ottery St. Mary’s in Devon.  Thousands of people crowd into the village on the night of ‘tar barrels’ to experience a true adrenaline rush, insurance night-mare fuelled night. The idea is that men, women, and teenagers who live in Ottery run up and down the streets with a barrel on their back. The barrel, full of tar, is on fire. The villagers literally run through the crowd and it’s up to the crowd to make sure they get out of the way or not.

Did we mention the barrel runners have usually been drinking all day – so are seeing double by the time it comes to their run...

Ivrea Orange festival, Piemonte, Italy (February)

In February every year the people of Permonte resort back to their ancestors centuries ago in order to remake the stoning of the evil count. However, instead of stones they now throw oranges. Enjoyed by over 10,000 people this historical event is a humorous re-enactment of historical events.   

Cooper’s Hill Annual Cheese Rolling, Gloucester UK (July)

Ever fancied chasing an 8 pound lump of cheese down an extremely steep hill? This is what the West Country folk get up to in the south of England. Many bones have been broken in this annual event, tending to be an extremely dangerous sport. The origin of cheese rolling is unknown, but it has been around for many years.  What do you win if you beat the cheese down the hill, I hear you ask. Well, the 8 pound slab of cheese, of course.

 Cheese Rolling. Image courtesy of Paul Townsend.

Wife carrying championships, Sonkajärvi, Finland (July)

Feeling macho? Do you have a wife? This could be your time to shine.

In a small town in Finland the matrimonial vow to carry your spouse through thick and thin, good and bad, has been taken literally. Sonkajarvian husbands take part in the 235.5 metre race through an assault course whilst carrying their beloved wife. Prizes go to the fastest, strongest, best costumed couple and the most entertaining. The event stems back to the 1800’s when a robber was thought to have run off with female villages, amongst other things.

La Tomatine, Spain (August)

Visit the small town of Bunol in Spain this year on the 28th August and you'll find the rather unusual sight of streets and people covered in tomatoes! This tomato throwing festival is purely for fun and occurs on the last Wednesday in August every year. Growing massively in popularity over the years the town's council has had to limit the number of revellers able to attend in the throwing activities. There are now 15,000 tickets available online to foreigners at 10 euros each.

Holi festival, India (February/March)

A spring festival with religious values, Holi, is a time when people throw coloured powder or water at each other. The celebration lasts into the night with the lighting of bonfires; known as Holika Dahan (burning of Holika). It’s celebrated on the last full moon day of the lunar month, so towards the end of February or the beginning of March. Holi festival is spreading throughout the world, like insects we are attracted to the light/ colour - Liverpool, UK will be hosting one in June 2014. 

By Ed Hawes 

Fancy travelling to India? Why not sign up for Frontier's India Experience or the India NGO Journalism Internship projects. 

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