1Naki Sumo: the Baby Crying Festival (Tokyo, Japan)
Held every year, at the Sensoji Temple, in Tokyo, the baby crying festival is a 400-year-old tradition, believed to keep rug-rats in good health. Amateur sumo wrestlers hold the babies high in the air, and try to scare them into crying, while a sumo referee judges the match. The toddler who cries longest and loudest is considered the winner.
Japanese parents bring the babies to the contest, of their own free will, and truly believe the sumo induced crying keeps their children in good health, and wards off evil spirits. This year, 80 babies, all under one year old, participated in Naki Sumo.
(Source | Via)
2Kanamara Matsuri: the Festival of the Steel Phallus (Kawasaki, Japan)
The festival is centered around a local penis-venerating shrine once popular among prostitutes who wished to pray for protection against sexually transmitted diseases. It is said that there are divine protections also in business prosperity and clan's prosperity, easy delivery, marriage, and married couple harmony. Today, the festival has become somewhat of a tourist attraction and is used to raise money for HIV research. (Source | Photo)
3Rapa das Bestas: the Horse Wrestling Festival (Galicia, Spain)
4Ivrea Carnival: the Orange Throwing Festival (Turin, Italy)
5Testicle Festival: eating bull's testicles (Montana, USA)
6Moose Dropping Festival: dropping 1,000 moose nuggets from a hot-air balloon onto the crowd below (Alaska, USA)
7Boryeong Festival: Summer's Mud Party (Boryeong, South Korea)
Some of the final weekend participants are foreign tourists, and especially American GIs, but most of the participants during the week are Koreans, attracted by clever marketing by the town; the mud is dug up near Boryeong, trucked to the Daecheon beach area, and dumped at a 'Mud Experience Land'. (Source)
8Christians VS. Moors Festival: a re-enactment of the battle between Moors and Christians (Valencia, Spain)
With beautiful ornate costumes that manage to look both hundreds of years old and sparkling new, thousands of marchers transform the streets of Alcoy's magnificent old city into a gigantic party, and on the 24th, the city sees recreations of the infamous battles between its historical masters. (Source)
9Argungu Fishing Festival: pulling the biggest fish out of the river with your bare hands (Nigeria)
The four-day cultural festival traditionally starts on a Wednesday in February or March and ends on a Saturday with the big fishing competition. The event has become so famous that visitors arrive up to a month in advance to soak up all the pre-festival excitement.
The winner can not only be sure of his fellow competitors' envy but also grand prizes like a car and travel packages. So sought-after is this honour that some want to win by any means: The 2008 winner had to be stripped of his title and was thrown in jail after some competitors proved that he cheated by presenting a fish that had previously been caught in a much bigger river, probably the Niger. Investigation of the gills also showed that the fish had long been dead. (Source)
10Cheung Chau Bun Festival: scrambling up a tower and plucking off plastic buns (Hong Kong, China)
The Cheung Chau Bun festival is said to have its origins in scaring away evil spirits, how or why nobody seems to remember, but the event continues. (Source | Photo)