The Sherp lists the most insanely dangerous festivals celebrated around the world! Do you dare to be a part of them?
From religious to cultural traditions, these festivals are some of the most dangerous things people get involved in as a group. The fear of death seems to be non-existent amongst as they brave physical injuries, pushing their bodies and minds to the limit. Be warned, some videos contain graphic imagery and not for the faint at heart.
Running Of The Bulls, Spain
The fiestas of San Fermin are celebrated in Irunea/Pamplona, in the region of Navarra, every year from the 7th to the 14th of July. The event starts at the corral in Calle Santo Domingo when the clock on the church of San Cernin strikes eight o’ clock in the morning. After the launching of two rockets, the bulls charge behind the runners for 825 metres, the distance between the corral and the bullring. Every year, between 50 and 100 people are injured during the run. Though not all of the injuries require taking the patients to the hospital, there are chances of people being gored to death or injured quite seriously. The festival has also undergone harsh criticism from both the media and animal rights activists claiming the festival to be a threat to both the humans and the bulls forced into this.
The Onbashira Festival has been held every six years for 1,200 years when the shrine’s buildings of Suwa Taisha were rebuilt at Suwa City, Nagano Prefecture, in the Chubu region of Japan. The climax of the festival consists of the Kiotoshi (young men ride the logs as they slide down a steep slope) and the Tate Onbashira (later as they are raised as pillars). Every year brave (or some might say stupid) locals jump onto these giant logs as it comes sliding down the hill. People who fall risk injuries and death due to the fall or getting crushed under the log.
El Colacho, Spain
Though this festival is not exactly dangerous in the same way as others, nor is the participation voluntary, it is still darn scary. Baby jumping (El Colacho) is a traditional (pagan) Spanish holiday dating back to 1620 that takes place annually to celebrate the Catholic feast of Corpus Christi in Burgos. During the act, known as El Salto del Colacho (the devil’s jump) or simply El Colacho, men dressed as the Devil (known as the Colacho) in red and yellow jump suits jump over babies born during the previous twelve months of the year who lie on mattresses in the street. The “devils” hold whips and oversized castanets as they jump over the unaware infants. Though there has never been a serious injury reported, let’s hope none of them trip!
Crucifixion re-enactment, Philippines
Crucifixion in the Philippines is a devotional practice held every Good Friday, and are part of the local observance of Holy Week. Devotees or penitents called Magdarame in Kapampangan are willingly crucified in the imitation of Jesus Christ’s suffering and death, while related practices involve carrying wooden crosses, crawling on rough pavement, and self-flagellation. Penitents considered these acts to be mortification of the flesh, and undertake these to ask forgiveness for sins, to fulfil a panatà (Filipino, “vow”), or to express gratitude for favours granted. These are some of the most cringeworthy visuals you will ever see.
Vegetarian Festival, Thailand
“Vegetarian Festival” sounds harmless right? I mean what could it possibly be? A vegetable fight? A Vegetarian food festival? Wrong! The Vegetarian Festival, also known as the Festival of Ngan Kin Jeh, begins every year, in October, on the first day of the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar. Despite its name, vegetarian food is not the central focus for the festival, but the white clothed devotees attending do adhere to a strict vegetarian diet for the 9 days of the event. Some participants engage in a number of extraordinary activities such as fire-walking over glowing coals, climbing ladders with rungs made of sharpened blades, piercing different parts of their bodies with various objects, and slicing their tongues with knives and swords.
Danjiri Matsuri Festival, Japan
This is a festival that is all about sheer male rivalry. Danjiri are large wooden carts (danjiri guruma) in the shape of a shrine or temple. The carts, often being crafted out of wood, are very ornate, with elaborate carvings. Towns with danjiri festivals in them have different neighborhoods, each with their own guild responsible for maintaining their own danjiri cart. The cart is kept in storage for most of the year. As the festival approaches, the danjiri cart is prepared with elaborate flower arrangements, prayer cards, ornaments, and religious consecrations. It is believed that spirits or gods reside in the danjiri. The person on the roof of the Danjiri cart controls the direction of movement. The cart is pulled so fast and with such sharp and sudden swerves that people on top have been known to fall off and get seriously injured.
Yanshui Beehive Rockets Festival, Taiwan
The event consists of a circuit around the outskirts of the town by palanquins, each symbolically armed to the teeth, with thousands of local inhabitants and visitors clustered around them as they slowly wind their way through the streets. When the line of palanquins comes up to the residential gate of a business, the lead one sets up a large or small “gun deck” (also called a “gun wall”) on the street and then lights the fuse. The “gun deck” consists of thousands of rockets that ignite all at the same time, creating a deafening, bee-like sound that fills the air as sparks fly in all directions. People believe the “baptism of fireworks” gets rid of calamity and troubles, sweeps away noxious influences and brings increasing good fortune in the new year. Due to the random nature of rockets and the proximity, people often get injured though they’re wearing fireproof jackets and helmets.
Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake, England
Who knew cheese could be dangerous? Trust the English to do something as ridiculous as this. From the top of the hill a 9 lb round of Double Gloucester cheese is rolled, and competitors start racing down the hill after it. The first person over the finish line at the bottom of the hill wins the cheese. In theory, competitors are aiming to catch the cheese; however, it has around a one-second head start and can reach speeds up to 70 mph (112 km/h), enough to knock over and injure a spectator. In the 2013 competition, a foam replica replaced the actual cheese for reasons of safety. The winner was given the prize after the competition. Every year there are multiple injuries of varying intensities, with the obvious risk of Jack falling down and breaking his crown, though there haven’t been any fatalities yet.