Things can get pretty odd in the happy-go-lucky world of festival-tripping. See for yourself.

Are you bored by the run-of-the-mill celebrations offered at festivals like Mardi Gras and Oktoberfest? Do you sneer at the dull and the unoriginal that flock to these mundane gatherings? Well, don’t despair – the world is full of quirky, colourful, and downright bizarre events, and we’ve put together in a list that will let you plunge into the world of odd and wacky to your heart’s content.

1. Baby Jumping Festival

One of the world’s most bizarre (and frankly terrifying) events is the Baby Jumping Festival (El Colacho) that takes place annually in Spain’s Castrillo de Murcia. An exorcism of sorts – newborn infants are swaddled and placed on mattresses in the street while grown men dressed as Devils jump over them. This act is supposed to cleanse the babies of original sin, but I suppose if “the Devil” happens to lose his footing, all bets are off. El Colacho is certainly one of the more controversial celebrations in the ring of festivals, but with bullfighting and tomato throwing also occupying Spain’s corner, I suppose it’s just another addition to the list of the country’s bizarre customs.


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2. Wife-Carrying Championship

Inspired by a gang of thieves that was notorious for stealing women from villages in the late 1800s, the Wife-Carrying Championship undoubtedly boasts some honourable roots. First introduced in Sonkajarvi, Finland – this sport expects competitors to carry their female companions through a special obstacle track in the fastest time. Running downhill with a woman squeezing your head between her thighs probably doesn’t sound like the ideal way to spend a hot afternoon, but when the light at the end of the tunnel (the grand prize) is your wife’s weight in beer – you will certainly want to ‘run for your wife’!

Wife Carrying World Championships (5)

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3. Kanamara Matsuri

If you don’t mind putting up with a bunch of dicks, the Kanamara Penis Festival in Kawasaki, Japan promises to be a day of naughty fun. The ‘Festival of the Steel Phallus’ is an annual Shinto fertility festival where the penis forms the central theme of the event. Probably not an ideal destination for a day out with your grandmother, this festival is nonetheless a worthy pit-stop if only to witness the jaw-dropping penis floats, rather convincing drag queens, and the penis-shaped lollipops being devoured by the young and the old.

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4. Toe-Wrestling Championship

This quirky sport has its origins in 1970s UK, and has gained surprising popularity amongst bizarre sport enthusiasts in the two decades since. Toe wrestling revolves around a fairly simple concept – contestants stick their feet on the ‘toedium’, the umpire yells ‘toes away’, and the rest is ‘histoery’. With top players including the likes of Paul “Toeminator” Beech – this sport is evidently not for the couch potatoes and the faint of heart.

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5. Boryeong Mud Festival

Originally created in 1998 as a marketing scheme to promote “mud cosmetics” – this South Korean festival has since attracted over 2.2 million visitors annually. The mud is taken from the surrounding mud flats and taken to the Daecheon beach area where folks can participate in activities such as mud massages, mud skiing, mud prison, and a mud military training.


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Just goes to show how bizarre, bizarre can get.