World's Most Outrageous Festivals

Let’s explore some of these quirky celebrations that truly push the boundaries.

Places
3 min
Emily Harriss
Emily Harriss
World's Most Outrageous Festivals
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Places

From an underwater music festival to chasing cheese down a hillside, the world's weirdest festivals are as diverse as they are thrilling. Let’s explore some of these quirky celebrations that truly push the boundaries.

Happy Nude Year

For the past 500 years, residents of Okayama, Japan, have celebrated New Year’s by assembling more than 10,000 loincloth-clad men who try their luck at catching talismans thrown into the crowd.

During the event, the sea of semi-nude men takes the mosh pit concept to the next level as they lunge, twist, and wrestle to grab hold of two little sticks—symbols of good fortune. Participation in the festival is not only about lucky omens but also the prospect of a bountiful harvest. It remains the most famous of the Hadaka Matsuri (Naked Men Festivals) in Japan.

Roller Derby: N'awlins Style

We've all heard of the Running of the Bulls festival in Spain, but have you ever heard of a bull chase with a twist in the heart of New Orleans?

Every year, the city of New Orleans hosts a Running of the Bulls–inspired race featuring roller derby skaters instead of cattle! Rather than risk being gored by angry bulls bent on destruction in the streets of Pamplona, Spain, participants of the “N’awlins” event get chased by a fleet of roller derby girls wearing horns and wielding giant plastic bats. The Spanish-inspired chase begins and ends at The Sugar Mill event venue, and along the route participants can either sprint to safety or face the wrath of the roller queens channeling their inner bull.

Tug of Whoah!

The annual Naha Tug-of-War Festival held in Okinawa, Japan, takes the schoolyard game to new heights—or should we say lengths!

Before the competition begins, the crowd must connect two ropes into one, locking the looped ends together with a giant wooden pole. The ropes get rebuilt every year and can measure up to an astounding 656 feet in length and weigh more than 40 tons! Hundreds of smaller ropes branch out from the sides to allow for thousands of competitors to participate. The first team to pull the rope to a specific point or whichever team pulls the rope the furthest in 30 minutes is the winner!

Subaquatic Symphony

For 25 years, divers and snorkelers have gathered at the Looe Key Reef for the annual Lower Keys Underwater Music Festival.

The festival at Looe Key Reef is more than just music; it serves as an event to raise awareness about coral reef conservation. Along with underwater music, attendees receive educational messages on how to reduce their impact and promote marine conservation. Artist August Powers adds to the ambiance, crafting underwater instruments like the whimsical “trom-bonefish” and “Fluke-a-Lele.”

Cheese Chasing Chaos

Believe It or Not!, the annual Cheese Roll in Gloucester, England, stands out as one of the world's quirkiest—and most dangerous—festivals.

Here's the rundown: A nine-pound double cheese wheel is given a one-second lead as it's released down Cooper's Hill, a steep 200-yard incline. Participants then dash after it, often losing their balance on the challenging slope and taking tumbles. The hill's gradient leads to many accidents, but that hasn't dimmed the event's appeal. Even before the pandemic, participation surged, drawing competitors globally. At the hill's base, local rugby players and farmers are on standby, assisting and providing prompt medical attention to the fallen.

And that concludes our journey through the world's weirdest festivals. These quirky celebrations fuel our curiosity and sense of adventure. Until next time, keep exploring and embrace the unexpected!

About The Author

Emily Harriss

Emily Harriss

As the Social Media Strategist for Ripley’s, Emily ensures fans are always in the loop with the late…

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