Put away the streamers, the relaxing music, and the piping hot hors d'oeuvres — these are not your typical parties. When these high-octane festivals reach their full potential, they're marvelous exhibits of colors, oddities, baby jumpings, tomato tossings, and more (seriously). People all over the planet love to cut loose, and festival organizers dream up the wildest ways to honor long-lasting traditions, celebrate the present, and welcome the future. These cultures annually pull out all the stops to create the most unforgettable — and unbelievable — experiences ever...
1. La Tomatina Festiva (Buñol, Spain)
Since 1945, tens of thousands of participants have gathered in the streets to throw tomatoes at each other. For what reason? None at all. This annual event — dubbed the world's largest food fight — is held for pure entertainment. The tomato throwers leave the event covered in red juice, though apparently the acid from the food helps clean the city streets!
2. Winter Scareaway Festival (Mohácsi Busójárás, Hungary)
This Hungarian tradition involves people dressing in scary costumes in the hopes of scaring away the cold weather toward the end of February and welcoming in the spring. The idea draws from a 1526 victory where villagers dressed as monsters to frighten an invading Turkish army. It seems almost like a more hardcore version of Groundhog Day!
3. Yi Peng Lantern Festival (Thailand)
Got a light? The Yi Peng Lantern Festival is held annually in Thailand and the surrounding countries with strong Thai roots. Festival-goers light thousands of paper lanterns and release them into the sky, creating an otherwordly view. The ritual represents letting go of negative energy and making room for well-wishes and the positive energy to come.
4. El Colacho (Spain)
Believe it or not, this festival's name translates to "Baby Jumping." Every year in Castrillo de Murcia, Spain, in celebration of the Catholic feast of Corpus Christi, newborn babies are lined up and placed on mattresses. They are sprinkled with petals and confetti, and then men in yellow and red jump over them. It's said to cleanse the newborns from original sin.