So you’ve run with the bulls in Pamplona and you’ve partied at the carnvial in Rio, Brazil, now you’re looking for the next crazy festival to visit.
There are hundreds to choose from each year all around the world, celebrating everything from elephants to ancient gods. Here are 10 of the maddest festivals around to help you choose your next adventure.
1. Les Falles, València
March 15-19 2014
Every May, the residents of València get together to honour St. Joseph by burning huge papier-mâché dolls or puppets that they’ve spent months building. Not wanting to avoid cliché, there’s also some serious paella on offer, plus and fireworks displays on each night of this five-day festival.
2. Festival of Snakes, Abruzzo, Italy
The Festa dei Serpari, or Feast of San Domenico, is celebrated in the tiny town of Cocullo, Abruzzo, Italy. Residents parade a statue of the town’s patron saint through the streets, draped in hundreds of the fork-tongued reptiles, which are then released in to the woods at the end of the celebrations.
3. Elephant Festival, Jaipur, India
March 17 2014
In Jaipur, India, Holi Day is celebrated by painting and decorating elephants, camels and horses and parading them through the town. The elephants are also raced and even put in to teams for a game of elephant polo! All of this is to honour the elephantine Hindu deity, Lord Ganesha.
4. Tet Nguyen Dan, Vietnam
Forget Chinese New Year’s, Vietnam’s very own version, known as Tet, lasts for three days but preparations start up to two weeks before the three day event. It involves lots of delicious home cooking, family reunions and giving money to little kids to wish them good luck.
5. Days of the Dead, Mexico
October 31 – November 2 2014
Love Halloween for the ghoulish costumes and sugar rush? Days of the Dead is celebrated around the world in Brazil, Spain and various African countries, but it originates in Brazil. Commemorating friends and loved ones who have died, families set up altars in their homes where offerings, including sugar skulls and the deceased’s favourite tipple, are placed.
6. Thaipusam, Malaysia
January 17 2014
At the Batu Caves outside Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Thaipusam celebrates Lord Shiva’s son, Murugan, vanquishing of three demons. Celebrated largely by the Tamil community, it’s a lavish affair of body piercing, covering each other in paint, shaving your head and dancing the traditional Kavadi Attam.