Aug 26 2014 / Destinations // Topical

Tuesday Tips: 5 of the World’s Most Unusual Festivals

From swimming in a sea of smashed tomatoes, to chasing cheese down a hill, there really are loads of weird and wonderful cultural events out there. Will any of these be on your list?

La Tomatina: The world’s biggest food fight

La Tomatina. Spain Image courtesy of Graham McLennan

This week, La Tomatina (the annual Battle of Tomatoes) is celebrated in the town of Buñol, near Valencia. Thousands flock to the Spanish village to throw 150,000 tomatoes at each other, while trucks drive through the streets hosing people off with ice-cold water! Goggles (as goofy as they might look) are definitely recommended!

Ganesh Chaturthi: A spiritual affair

Ganesh Chaturthi, Mumbai, India

 Image courtesy of LegallyIndia.com

Also known as ‘Chovoth’, Ganesh Chaturthi is the largest Hindu event in Goa, India. This colourful festival honours the birth of the elephant-headed god, Lord Ganesha and will be celebrated on August 29 this year. For 11 days, locals worship clay idols until the final day – Ananta Chaturdasi – when the statues are paraded through the streets and immersed in water to bring good fortune.

Oktoberfest: Beer bottoms up!

Beer hall, munich Image courtesy of Pavel L Photo and Video/Shutterstock.com

If you’re going to sample to very best of German beer, then make sure you’re in Munich for Oktoberfest this year. Held from late September until the first weekend in October, Oktoberfest is the world’s largest funfair, famous for its German culture, food and of course, beer. Around seven million litres of the award-winning Oktoberfest beer will be drunk over the 16 days, plus visitors can also join in the local festivities, dress up in Bavarian costume and try traditional delicacies in the iconic beer tents.

Las Fallas: Burn baby burn!

Las Fallas , Valencia Not just content with throwing tomatoes at each other, Valencians also parade approx. 350 giant papier mache figures (some 20ft tall) through the city and then set them alight – burning hundreds of thousands of pounds of work in the process! Expect  midday fireworks, pyrotechnics, and all-night partying in this colourful celebration of spring.

Cheese Rolling Festival: Food on a roll

Cheese rolling Image courtesy of Paul Townsend 

Did your mother ever tell you not to play with your food before eating it? Well, apparently those in Gloucester didn’t listen. Every May, people gather at Cooper’s Hill to watch plucky competitors chase a rolling wheel of cheese down the hill. Tourists will mainly fly into Birmingham to catch all the action down in Gloucester. So if you’re looking for a travel adventure with a twist, then make sure you time your holidays around one of these once-in-a-lifetime festivals!

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About the Author: Jessica

Jessica is a passionate traveller and regular contributor to the Monarch blog.

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