22nd December 2016
From the Yorkshire Pudding Boat Race, to Skipping Day, and the World Toe Wrestling Championships, the UK sets the scene for celebrations and traditions which many of us may have never heard of before. Generally passed down through generations, traditions and festivals are a way of celebrating something with special significance.
There are many traditions all over the world which are celebrated in bizarre and unusual ways, including festivals, carnivals, and perhaps the strangest of all, food fights. Here at Asda Money, we’ve picked some of our favourite quirky events, in case you fancy visiting somewhere a little different this year.
Here in the UK, if you started throwing tomatoes at somebody in the street, you’d probably face some consequences. However, in the town of Buñol in Spain, the last Wednesday of every August is spent doing just that, at La Tomatina.
Thousands of people from all over the world come together to take part in one of the world’s largest tomato fights. At 11am, trucks packed full of tomatoes start to fill the centre of town at Plaza del Pueblo. When the water cannons are fired, the chaos can begin and it’s every man for himself for the next hour.
Although the tomato fight has been a tradition in Buñol since 1945, the origin is unknown. There are many possible theories, including a local food fight amongst friends, a juvenile class war, a volley of tomatoes from bystanders at a carnival parade, a practical joke played on a musician, and the aftermath of an accidental lorry spillage.
There is limited accommodation in Buñol around the date of the festival, so many people choose to stay nearby in the centre of Valencia - just 38km away by train or bus.
In 1929, the small town of Menton in the French Riviera gained its reputation as the best lemon producer in Europe. To celebrate, in 1934 the town created one of the world’s greatest festivals, La Fête du Citron (Lemon Festival), which has happened every year since, in the late winter months.
During the festival, Menton will be packed with over 145 tonnes of lemons and oranges, which will be designed into beautiful decorations and floats, giving nearly a quarter of a million visitors an experience they will never forget.
Every year the festival has a theme. In previous years, the likes of Disney, Peter Pan’s Neverland, Under the Sea, the Circus, and many more extravagant designs have been revealed.
Dia de Los Muertos (The Day of the Dead) is a time when people gather together to celebrate friends and family members who have passed away. However, it’s not all doom and gloom, as it’s actually one of the most beautiful and most colourful holidays in Mexico. Despite its title, the Day of the Dead is not a day to fear. It’s a celebration, filled with parties, singing, dancing, and even fireworks!
This holiday takes place from the 31st October until the 2nd November every year, and is celebrated all over Mexico. Festivals tend to be more colourful in the southern region, especially in the states of Oaxaca, Chiapas, and Michoacán.
The world-famous Carnival of Venice takes place during the ten days leading up to Shrove Tuesday, and is an event not to be missed. Famous for its elaborate masks, this pre-Lent festival means ‘farewell to meat’ and is generally celebrated throughout all of Venice.
The tradition of the mask originated in the 13th century, when the residents of Venice would hold parties from the 26th December until Lent, and they would wear masks to hide their identity. These celebrations were the only time the lower and upper class socialised with each other, and it was common for peasants to disguise themselves using the masks whilst playing out their fantasies.
The carnival is a great excuse to throw on a mask and an extravagant costume, as well as enjoying music, parades, and the local food and drink, in a truly beautiful city.
Whichever festival you choose to attend, don’t forget to buy your travel insurance and collect your currency beforehand. Tickets to some of these festivals may sell out quickly, so it’s always advised to book in advance.
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