Five best festivals you’ve never heard of

Anyone who enjoys a party, a sense of community and some good old fashioned fun knows that a festival is just the place to get it.  Whether you’re after parties in the street, fruit throwing, fireworks or all night dance offs, the sense of occasion offered by a festival can make even the craziest ideas a reality. Before you fly out and revel in the festivities remember to get yourself some insurance  just in case you party a little too hearty. But what if you’ve been there and done that with all the usual suspects and you’re looking for something a bit more out of the ordinary?  For those on a quest to discover some unheard of festivals, try some of these for size:

1. The Monkey Buffet Festival – sounds like a pretty odd concept, granted but the monkey buffet festival that takes place in Lopburi, Thailand every year is actually an offering from those who worship Hanuman the monkey god.  The festival is literally what it seems – an enormous buffet of favourite monkey snacks, which is reduced to crumbs within minutes by a horde of hungry primates. It’s quite a sight to see!

2. The Naked Festival – leave it to the Japanese to come up with something utterly crazy and what do you get?  The Naked Festival that’s what – an event that requires participants to go out in nothing but trainers and a loincloth and run naked in the streets.  As this is Japan there is of course an element of endurance involved and so the festival takes place in January, when the country is as cold as you would imagine anywhere in the northern hemisphere to be.  The Naked Festival is called Hadaka Matsuri and people take part as a form of ritual purification.

3. Baby jumping festival – surprisingly this festival is not a modern attempt to cash in on the tourist penchant for wild and wacky events but has been going since 1620.  The festival takes place in Castrillo de Murcia in Spain in June of each year, when men dressed as the devil take flying leaps over babies lying in rows on the street.  The festival takes place to celebrate the Catholic feast of Corpus Christi and the jump itself is known as El Salto del Colacho – the devil’s jump.  Unsurprisingly, this has been rated as one of the most dangerous festivals in the world, although the babies who participate are supposed to be cleansed of original sin and granted safe passage through life free from evil spirits and illness.  The Pope has asked Spanish priests to distance themselves from this particular event…

4. The Ivrea orange festival – Italy is next on the most unusual festival circuit, with the Ivrea orange throwing festival –  the largest food fight in the country.  The festival is said to have descended from the tradition of love struck maidens hurling fruit at suitors passing by their balconies during parades.  It is now open to everyone, although the oranges are usually thrown between organised groups as the event is so big.

5. The Holi festival in India is probably the only religious festival for which the locals won’t bring out their finest threads.  The reason for this is that Holi is a colour throwing festival where coloured gulal powders are hurled every which way, covering anyone who walks by.  The festival is associated with Lord Krishna and in some parts of India participants use wet colours rather than powders. The result is a wonderful rainbow of celebration.

So, here are five of the best festivals you’ve never heard of.  Whether you fancy some baby jumping, colour hurling or getting your kit off, one of these undiscovered options will suit you down to the ground.