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Interesting Festivals Around The World

March 5, 2014

Each country and culture has a unique set of public holidays and festivals. While some of these holidays and festivals (like Christmas, Ramadan, Rosh Hashanah, and New Year) extend across the world, there are many more holidays that are unknown outside of national borders.

Interesting Festivals Around The World

We can learn a lot about the values of a country and its people by celebrating their festivals with them and learning more about what they revere and honour.

Holidays are lasting reminders that something is important enough to celebrate. There’s a lot of interesting history, experiences, and people that have been the inspiration for these days of remembrance that bring a country together.

Some Interesting Festivals Around The World

However, there are some holidays and interesting festivals around the world that are just a teensy bit more interesting or unusual than the others.

A couple of celebrations that jumped out us were . . .

Blessed Rain Day. Life in monsoon country can be tough. The constant downpours can take their toll. In Bhutan, they’ve turned a negative into a positive and celebrate the rains (well, the end of the rains anyway) with the finish of the monsoon season. Blessed Rain Day is a time of family celebration and everyone is encouraged to enjoy a purifying outdoor bath to wash away misdeeds and evil.

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Melon Day. On a hot summer’s day, a nice fresh slice of melon is always a special treat. In Turkmenistan, they have an extra special place in their hearts for melon – they have a national holiday in its honour. Apparently Turmenistan’s president wanted to celebrate the country’s fertile lands and hard-working farmers and so now the humble Turkmenbashi melon holds pride of place in the national calendar. According to the good people at Wikipedia, other days celebrated across the land include: Drop of Water is a Grain of Gold Festival, Festival of the Poetry of Magtymguli, Good Neighborliness Day, Racing Horse Day, and Carpet Day.

We also found a few more in a fun article here on world holidays which described the Punch Your Neighbour Festival, the Haxey Hood Game, and the Game of the Bridge . . .

Punch Your Neighbor Festival. The cities of Potosi and Macha in Bolivia hold a festival in May every year high up in the Bolivian Andes Mountains. It’s celebrated by thousands of people and it’s based on the Quechua word ‘Tinku’ that means an ‘encounter’ or ‘meeting’. The meaning of the word has become more severe as the humour of the festival evolved and it now is celebrated with punches and beatings that can actually really hurt people. In the past the festival has ended in deaths but it is now policed to stop the fighting when it draws blood. Coming from old pagan ceremonies of blood revitalizing harvests, it’s seen as a way to suffer a little pain now to ensure a better harvest next year.

While you’re here, check out: Moving Abroad – 100+ Helpful Resources, Guides and Websites 

Haxey Hood Game. This UK festival also comes from very old roots but the exact origin isn’t as clear as the Bolivian festival. The Haxey Hood game involves a big, rowdy group of people trying to push a small leather tube towards one of four pubs in town, where it will stay until the following year’s game. Before the game begins there is the ‘smoking the fool’ ritual that has become less violent and frightening over time. Rather than hanging a speech-giving fool over flames and then cutting him to fall into the fire they now just have him stand in front of the fire and open the games with some wise words. In order to make the game interesting, the ‘hood’ cannot be tossed or run with but rather its holder must be pushed and pulled in the intended direction by the crowd. The game usually lasts a few hours and then everyone stumbles back home.

The Game of the Bridge. Pisa, Italy has held this great game since 1568 and it comes from the historical battle for possession of the bridge that spans the river Arno in the city. It used to be incredibly violent but has recently included regulation for a more humane celebration. The game mimics a huge game of tug of war as 20 man teams push seven ton carts to the opponents’ side of the bridge. After numerous rounds the winning team is designated by the most number of victories. The best part is, all of the men dress up in frilly period costumes and they overcome their shame in the ultimate test of manly strength.

Like we said at the start, holidays and festivals are lasting reminders that something is important enough to celebrate.

We hope you enjoy your next holiday.

Don’t forget to check out: Moving Abroad – 100+ Helpful Resources, Guides and Websites 

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