By FD.Sheikh and Hira Mawra
Fun and festivity have always been a part and parcel in man’s lethargically grooving daily life. From north to south and east to west, everywhere we come across a variety of exciting and, at times, wondrous festivities and events that people mark to relish their living in accordance with their own traditions and culture. Out of these innumerable celebrations, there are some that seem amazingly anomalous but yet so exciting that everyone who sees or hears about them, gets excited to know about them. So today, you are requested to fasten your seat belts as you are going to have a roller coaster ride in the world to grab some of these most crazy and exciting events being marked all around the world.
Do not get horrified. The Day of Dead is not about the Day of Resurrection, but a time to pay homage to the departed souls in Mexico.
It takes place on November 1 and 2. Skeletal mummies are dressed in beautiful attires to welcome the souls of the dead. This event is a graphical manifestation of the classical belief that souls continue living in Mictlan — a special place to rest, until November, when they can return to their homes to visit their relatives.
Preparations start from mid October which includes harvesting the flower of 20 petals known as cempasuchitl, and marigold to us. Ritualistic dances on cultural music followed by prayers are the main highlights, bringing back the memories of loved ones.
Alien festival — Roswell, New Mexico
This event features a bunch of speakers, authors, live entertainment, a costume contest, a pet costume contest, parade, family-friendly activities and much more. Its origin is linked to the crash of a mysterious flying object at a ranch in North Roswell, in July 1947, along with alien bodies. The Roswell Army Air Field (RAAF) reported it to be a flying disk but changed its statement the very next day, making room for the alien theory which continues even today in the form of this event.
The entry is absolutely free!
Broken Dolls Day (Japan)
Paying homage to our friends of childhood is such an interesting idea. Burying all the broken toys instead of disposing them off with other heaps of wastes, teaches a lesson of discipline in life.
All parents in Japan allow their children to gather up their old toys on June 3, every year and bring their broken toys to Buddhist shrines for funeral rituals. After the ceremony, the dolls are buried and enshrined.
Cheese Rolling Festival
Get your sneakers on because they will be needed for running down a steep hill. And when it comes to running down Cooper’s Hill, one automatically gets lost in the fun of a cheesy chase!
The top of Copper’s Hill in Gloucestershire, is the official site of the Cheese Rolling festival, a memorial to local cheese lovers and dates back to Roman times. Every last Monday of May at noon, a large, mellow, 7-lb wheel of ripe Gloucestershire cheese is rolled downhill and chased by eager participants, who push and shove in an attempt to be the first to reach the bottom of the hill.
It’s a rough track down and injuries are not uncommon. In all, four downhill races (one for ladies) are run, with the winner in each race getting to take home the cheese. Runners-up get cash prizes.
El Colacho (Baby Jumping)
Jumping over a baby? Now that is scary even when one has to imagine it but not so for the people of Castillo de Murcia, near Burgos in Spain, where babies are blessed this way to keep them away from evils in future.
This event dates back to 1620s and, it takes place along with the main Catholic festival of Corpus Christi. Adults dressed as devils jump over babies lying on swaddling clothes in streets.
This is supposed to cleanse the infants from sins, ensure them a safe passage through life and guard against illness and evil spirits.
The Battle of Oranges
Attaacckk! Bang! You are being hit by a bunch of oranges. This is what happens when you step in Ivrea — a town in northern Italy — in the last week of February.
The smell of oranges overwhelms you and in no time you start smelling like an orange too. As for how the festival got started, it is undeniably linked to a woman named Violetta who raised her voice against the tyrants of her time, expressing the desire for freedom from imperial power.
Every year the citizens remember their liberation with the Battle of the Oranges, where teams of |Aranceri” (orange handlers) on foot throw oranges (representing ancient weapons and stones) against Aranceri riding in carts (representing tyrants’ ranks).
La Tomatina – Tomato fight
It may seem a bit messy to us but each year, on the last Wednesday of August, a food fight festival La Tomatina, takes place in the small town of Bunol, in Spain, where thousands of people make their way from all corners of the world to throw tomatoes at each other. Yes, more than one hundred metric tonnes of over-ripe tomatoes are thrown in the streets.
The week-long festival features music, parades, dancing and fireworks. On the night before the tomato fight, participants of the festival compete in a paella cooking contest.
Are you nuts about chocolates? Yes? You are welcome to join in the biggest chocolate festival of Europe, The Eurochocolate. This gorgeous event lasts for nine days and welcomes about 900,000 visitors to the city of Perugia, in Umbria, Italy. A large variety of chocolates from all over the world is served in the festival in huge quantity.
Activities adorning the event include chocolate art displays, experimental chocolate tastings, street performances and chocolate sculpting. In 2003, the largest chocolate bar in the world, measuring more than 7 metres in length, two metres high and made with 5980 kilograms of dark chocolate and thousands of hazelnuts was produced.
The Night of the Radishes
The Night of Radish takes place every year on December 23, in Mexico. While lasting just a few hours, this night presents a variety of sculptures made of large radishes weighing up to 3 kilograms. Specially grown radishes of giant size (up to 20 inches) are used to present a variety of sculptures, models of buildings, figures, party scenes and what not.
The radish statutes also include materials other than radishes including corn husks and dried flowers. The winner of the night is the person who has made the best sculpture and he gets his picture (along with that of his sculpture) printed in the local newspaper.
Henley-on-Todd Regatta, Australia
Have you ever seen a boat running without water? Surprised? You are supposed to be!
Every August boat crews step into bottomless frivolous boats under the shadow of gum trees on the edge of the dry Toddy River bed in Australia. Bottomless boats are hoisted around the waists and the race begins in the sandy, dry Todd riverbed.
The full-day programme is thoroughly organised and consists of a variety of fun events and activities that include Bath Tub Derby (four people carry a fifth crew member around in a bath tub), a Boogie Board event (a lucky crew member sitting on a board gets towed around the circuit), kayaking, rowing and lots more.
These are not all of the strange things that people do around the world, just some of them because we can’t tell you all in these pages. The crux of the matter is, though life in today’s modern world is quite busy and hectic, there are many people around the world who are indulging in a lot of fun and festivities and, at times, strange things too. The festivities reflect the culture, traditions and trends of the natives. These are the colours of life that are meant to be lived. Happy living!