#1 Buol, Spain, Hosts a Massive Food Fight Using Overripe Tomatoes
Tomatoes have become a staple of many cuisines worldwide, but the Spanish have taken it to new heights. In the city of Buol, a food fight takes place, with overripe tomatoes serving as the ammunition. After a friendly fight, trucks with tomatoes are brought in, and the ensuing chaos covers the people and the city in tomatoes.
#2 In Italy, the Battle of the Oranges
Every year, something strange happens in Ivrea, Italy, during the three days before Mardi Gras. The locals divide into nine distinct squads, dress in war gear, and throw oranges at each other over the course of several days in an attempt to eliminate the opposing teams. The origins of this game are unknown.
#3 The Danube Crossing (Plivanje Za Casni Krst), Romania
Romanians practice one of Europe’s strangest customs: a young man swims in an icy river while a hundred or more spectators watch an Orthodox priest toss a cross into the water. It probably helps if everyone drinks homemade vodka prior to the event. If you can return the cross to safety, you will have good fortune for a year.
#4 Presidential Turkey Pardons
While only a few people in Europe celebrate Thanksgiving, it is a major holiday in the United States. Since the 1940s, US presidents have formally received a Thanksgiving turkey and, on rare occasions, formally pardoned the bird to save its life. And, if you’re wondering whether this ceremony has any deeper meaning or symbolism, the answer is no.
#5 France’s Giant Omelette (Omelette Géante)
Bessières’ residents have a unique spring tradition: one day after Easter festivities, they prepare a massive omelet made of more than 4,500 eggs that can feed up to 1,000 people in the town’s central plaza. This festival has been around since Napoleon’s time, and according to legend, Napoleon did the most to make it a reality by ordering a large omelet to be made.
#6 Russefeiring (Russefeiring), Norway
During their final spring semester, Norwegian high school students regularly observe Russefeiring. Participants in this festival drive similar cars, vans, and buses, wear colored overalls — usually red — and party nonstop for two weeks. Every year, authorities brace themselves for ongoing public intoxication and unrest during the holiday season.
#7 North Carolina’s National Hollerin’ Contest
Because phones are a relatively new invention, hollerin’ is far from a lost art in our society, particularly in the United States. Hollerin’ was a highly developed method of communicating over long distances that was especially popular in the American South. It sounds like a cross between a yodel and a hunting cry. The National Hollerin’ Contest was founded in 1969 in Spivey’s Corner, North Carolina, to carry on this enjoyable tradition, and it has been held every year since.
#8 Alaska’s Nenana Ice Classic
Alaska, the country’s last frontier and icebox, is likely one of the coldest places on the planet. As a result, there will almost certainly be a tradition associated with Alaska’s coldness. People bet on when the river ice will break in one town in this state, and a tripod is placed on the ice to track the time. When the ice finally breaks, the winner receives a sizable prize pool.
#9 Netherlands Congratulating The Entire Family On One Person’s Birthday
Birthdays are sometimes celebrated not just for the person turning a year older, but for the entire family who supports the birthday boy or girl. Birthdays are traditionally celebrated in the Netherlands by wishing the celebrant’s family members as well as the actual birthday boy or girl.
#10 To ward off the evils of winter, the Czechs hold a witch-burning festival every year.
While some people enjoy the winter season by making snowmen and other decorations, the Czechs appear to despise it with a vengeance. Literally. They build straw and hay witches to represent the winter season and burn them to ward off the cold weather. And some would argue that it always works!
Funerals are a sad occasion, but there can be some happiness in them. A burial custom known as famadihana is practiced by the Malagasy tribe in Madagascar. This tradition involves dancing with their bodies to honor the deceased’s life. People dance as their bodies are taken from the grave, rewrapped in new fabric, and carried. Every seven years, one of these ceremonies is performed.
#12 Coal Walking in China
Babies are born all over the world, but China places a special emphasis on this event. A newborn’s arrival is surrounded by a slew of customs and rules. The most unusual custom involves the husband carrying the pregnant woman over hot coals before entering their home. He must, of course, do it without shoes.
#13The Thaipusam Festival
The Tamil community celebrates this Hindu holiday at the start of each year. It is celebrated on full moon nights and is dedicated to Lord Murugan, the war god. Other physically demanding procedures include piercing body parts with long silver pins. Everything for the sake of the gods.
#14 Austria’s Maypole (Maibaum)
Austria, like Germany, is not without strange traditions. On May 1st, Austrians typically erect and protect their maypoles, while a nearby rival village attempts to steal them overnight as part of the tradition. Even though most maypoles will be protected against such possibilities, rivals will usually steal only the ones that are reasonably portable.
#15 Arizona Ostrich Racing
Ostriches are fascinating creatures that are sometimes compared to horses with wings and attitudes. When ostriches first arrived in the United States in the 1880s, ostrich-riding competitions erupted in several states across the country. The Chandler Ostrich Festival in Arizona hosted the largest current race in 2019.
#16 Cherry Pit Spitting in Michigan
The International Cherry Pit Spitting Championship celebrated its 46th anniversary in 2019 at the Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm in Michigan. All you have to do is eat the cherry and spit the pit as far as you can. Contestants are not permitted to “pop” their cheeks with their hands, and no props or other items are permitted.
#17 Tuscany, Italy Flag Throwing
Despite the fact that the Tuscan region is famous for its wine, olives, pasta, and Tuscan sun, flag-throwing is a particularly important custom. Today, young men and women perform synchronized flag tossing and catching acrobatic displays at festivals, carrying on an ancient tradition — a breathtaking sight to behold while visiting Tuscany!
#18 In India, Baby Tossing
The child’s safety must be ensured at all times, but it is customary in India to toss infants off the sides of temples as part of a rite. After getting married in India, it is customary to bring your newborn back to the 50-foot-tall Sri Santeswar temple and toss your child onto a cloth held by both Muslims and Hindus below.
#19 Ireland’s Puck Fair
Killorglin, Ireland’s oldest and strangest festival, is nestled deep within one of the country’s most renowned landscapes. King Puck is a wild male goat known as a “puck” who is crowned monarch of the town for three days during this ancient festival. He’s in a tall cage in the town square, where he can watch everyone.
#20 In Mexico, People Put Their Faces In Cake
While celebrating a birthday with a cake is customary every year, smashing a face into the cake is unusual due to the significance of the occasion. In Mexico, the person celebrating has their hands tied behind them, and as they go for the first bite, they are pushed into the cake while hearing “Mordida! Mordida! Mordida!” yelled at them. Not to mention that Mexico produces very creamy cakes.