Strange Traditions

(last updated articles are on the top)

Las Bolas de Fuego

Las Bolas de Fuego or "Balls of Fire" is a traditional event held every 31st of August in small town of Nejapa, El Salvador. The event was organized for the first time on the 15th of September 1922. Two groups of young people are throwing flaming balls at each other. These balls are made of old cloth and wire. They are soaked in petrol. Persons participating in the event are well protected. Nobody really gets hurt. Everything is one big party.
Las Bolas de Fuego in Nejapa, El Salvador


Playing polo with a dead goat
"Buzkashi" is a traditional sport played in Central Asia. It is also known as "Kok-boru" or "Oglak Tartis". During the game, a rider tries to grab a headless goat or calf and throw it across a goal line or into a target circle called "vat". Dead animal used in Buzkashi is beheaded. Its bowls are taken out. Limbs are cut off at knees. Before being used in the game body is kept in water for 24 hours. This is done to make it tougher. In some situations organizers put some sand inside the body to make it heavier. Goat is used as "ball" in Buzkashi only when there is no calf available.

Haro Wine Festival

Haro Wine Festival is organized in the town of Haro located in the northern Spanish region of La Roja. The festival is held on the San Pedro (Saint Peter) day, the 29th June. The highlight of this festival is so called Batalla de Vino (Battle of Wine). Everything starts at 7.00 a.m. with a procession involving locals wearing white shirts and red scarves. Everyone carries jugs and similar containers full of wine. The procession is lead by the town's mayor riding a horse.
Haro Wine Festival

10 strange traditions (2)

After finishing first article about 10 strange traditions, which you can find at this web site, I thought why not write more. So, here is the second one. Enjoy! 1) Yunnan is the Chinese region located in the far southwest of China. In the west of Yunnan people put a tile made object in the middle of the ridge. The object looks similar to cat so local people called it the "Tile Cat". It is believed that the Tile Cat can eat monsters and evil spirits and that way be the protector of the family.
Tile Cat

10 strange traditions (1)

What is strange often depends from which perspective you look at certain matter. Different societies have many different traditions. In this article I tried to describe 10 strange traditions. 1) Cooper's Hill is a place near Gloucester, the city in the southwest of England. The fascinating event held at the hill is actually organized by people of village Brockworth. The full name of the event is Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake. It is held on Spring Bank Holiday, which is on the last Monday in May. The event is more than 200 years old.

Palio della Rana

Palio della Rana is a rather unusual event organized during the first weekend after Easter in the Italian town of Fermignano in the Marche region. In 2015 the event is held from the 10th to 12th of April. As a prelude to the main event there is a parade with some 300 people wearing medieval costumes. There is lot of delicious food on offer.
Fermignano, Italy Fermignano, Italy

Bone house

Bone house is a building or certain site which includes human skeletal remains. They are often created in places where there is lack of space. A body is first buried in a temporary grave. After a few years skull and bones are removed to a bone house. The word "ossuary" is also used for similar places.


ClauWau is the world Santa championships in Swiss ski resort of Engadin Samnaun. It is held on the 25th and 26th of November. Up to 30 teams can participate in the competition. Money from the championships goes to the Swiss aid organization "Jeder Rappen Zählt".

Maldon mud race

Maldon, Essex is a town located in the east of England. The town is known for its strange racing competition held in December or January. Due to weather problems the last competition was on the 29th of April, 2012. The race is organized by the Maldon District council and local Rotary and Lions club. All the money collected in this event goes to those in need. The event was first organized in 1973.
Maldon mud race Maldon mud race

Boryeong Mud Festival

The Boryeong Mud Festival (in Korean Boryeong meod chukje) has been organized in Boryeong, South Korea since 1998. The festival started as a promotion of the local mud rich in minerals that have positive effects on human health.
Boryeong Mud Festival Boryeong Mud Festival

10 strange traditions (4)

(1) Fingerhakeln or "finger wrestling" is a game played in the Alpine region of Austria and Germany. Two, usually male, competitors sit on opposite sides of the table.


Aperschnalzen (in the south of Germany word "aper" means without snow) or schnalzen is a tradition of rhythmic whip cracking. It is quite popular in German state of Bavaria and in the Austrian state of Salzburg. Short-handled whips ("goaßln") used in aperschnalzen are more than 4 metres long. In its original form this tradition was meant to "wake up" the nature and "call" the good spirits to destroy the snow and winter cold.

10 strange traditions (3)

(1) The Maonan people live in mountains of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region located in the south of China. They call themselves Anan or "local people". On the 15th day of the first lunar month local people organize the Bird Flying Festival. In 2013 the festival will be held on the 24th of February. People prepare Sweet Flag (Calamus) leaves. On the New Year Eve these leaves are used to "knit" different birds like swallows, partridges or cormorants. Inside the stomach of each bird people put sticky rice, beans, and sesame. The birds are then steamed.

Battle of the Queens

Battle of the Queens (in French "Combat de Reines") is a name of the cow fighting tournaments held in the Alps. These tournaments are held in the Swiss canton of Valois, the Aosta Valley in Italy and in the Haute-Savoie region of France. The biggest cow fighting tournament is the one in Martigny, Switzerland. Almost 50,000 people attend the spectacle. In 2012 the tournament will be on the 30th of September.
Battle of the Queens Battle of the Queens (Combat de Reines)

Firewalking traditions

Firewalking is an act during which a person walks over a layer of hot ambers or stones. It has been part of many cultures. Usually it is seen as an act of faith, courage.
Embers Embers

Battle of the Oranges

Ivrea is a town in the Piedmont province of northern Italy. It is known for its local carnival organized in February. The main part of the carnival is the famous Battle of the Oranges (La battaglia delle arance). The Battle includes nine teams who throw oranges at each other during three days in – Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.
Battle of the Oranges Battle of the Oranges

Stilt walking

Stilts are poles that allow person stand and walk at certain height above the ground. To enable walking stilts have sort of steps for the feet to stand on, or straps to attach them to the legs. Stilts have been used in many parts of Europe as people suffered from floods, had to walk through marshes etc. In the 19th century competitions in stilt walking were organized in parts of Spain and France. The best competitors won prizes like a gun or a sheep.

Rubber duck races

Many of us relate rubber ducks with having a bath. In some parts of the world there are races involving rubber ducks. One of the biggest is The Great British Duck Race organized in London, UK. On the 31st of August, 2012 175,000 rubber ducks were released down the river Thames at Battersea Park by the Pagoda. The race ends in the area of Albert Bridge. Some of ducks are "adopted" or sponsored by individuals and companies. Money that is collected is given to charity.

The World Coal Carrying Championships

On Easter Monday people in English village of Gawthorpe, Yorkshire organize a rather unusual race. According to the legend everything started in 1963 in the local Beehive Inn. The men responsible for the event are Reggie Sedgewick and Amos Clapham. Each male competitor has to carry 50 kg bag full of coal across a mile (1012.5 meters) long track. The record is 4 minutes and 6 seconds. It is held by David Jones of Meltham. He achieved the result in 1991 and then again in 1995.

World Sauna Championships

World Sauna Championships was organized in the town Heinola located in the south of Finland. The first competition was in 1999. Rules of this competition are relatively simple. The winner is a person who can sit in the sauna the longest and then walk out of sauna without any help. The temperature is sauna rises every 30 seconds when about half a litre of water is poured on the stove.

Hadaka Matsuri

Hadaka Matsuri or "Naked Festival" is a traditional Japanese event held each year on the 17th February in Konomiya Shrine located in Inazawa, Aichi Prefecture. The event has been going on for more than 1,200 years. Each year some 300,000 people visit Inazawa to watch the Hadaka Matsuri.
Hadaka Matsuri Hadaka Matsuri

Hare Pie Scramble and Bottle Kicking

Hare Pie Scramble and Bottle Kicking is a traditional event held on the Easter Monday in the English village of Hallaton, Leicestershire. The event starts with the Hare Pie Procession from the local Fox Inn to St. Michael’s Church. The procession includes several characters. It is lead by a man dressed in green who carries a pole with a metal hare on its top.

Navajo sand paintings

Navajo native Americans or the Diné live in the southwest of the USA. They are famous for their sand paintings. Navajo word for the sand painting is "iikaah" which means "the place where the gods come and go".
Navajo Medicine Man Navajo Medicine Man


"Jallikattu" or "Manju Virattu" ("chasing the bull") is a bull taming competition organized in the Indian state Tamil Nadu located in the southernmost part of the country. Word Jalikatu comes from two terms - "Salli kassu" (coins) and "Kattu" (a package). Coins tied to the horns of the bulls represent the prize money that can be won at this competition. Jallikattu is held on the eve of "Mattu Pongal". Mattu Pongal is the third of four days at the Pongal festival. According to the Western calendar it is organized on the 15th of January.

Trauco and Fiura

This story takes us to the Chiloé Island. It is the second largest island of Chile. It is located in the Los Lagos Region of southern Chile.
Chiloé Chiloé Island
Before moving to the main topic of this article let's mention that this island is famous for potatoes. Why? The most popular variety of potato in the world , Solanum tuberosum tuberosum is originally from the the Chiloé Island. It was cultivated on the island before the arrival of Spaniards.


Leprechaun is a fairy in the Irish mythology. According to Irish lexicographer and historian Patrick Dinneen (1860-1934), the word leprechaun comes from Irish "leipreachán" which means "a pigmy, a sprite, a leprechaun." Leprechaun is an old man. He is only about 60 cm (2 feet) tall. He wears a cocked hat and a leather apron. His clothes is green. Before the 20th century Irish mythology stated that he wears red clothes. Leprechaun is believed to be a loner who spends his life making and mending shoes. He also enjoys practical jokes.

Foot binding

Foot binding is a cruel tradition that used to exist in China between the 10th and early 20th century. Tiny female feet were treated as kind of fetish. People started to practice foot binding on girls aged between 4 or 7. Some parents postponed food binding as they needed help on their farms.

The flyers of Papantla

The flyers of Papantla or Los Voladores de Papantla is a group of five men from the city of Papantla in the northern part of the Mexican state of Veracruz. The flyers are the Totonaca people. It is believed that the ritual they are performing was formed sometime in the 1200s. Five men represent the five elements of the indigenous world. They climb on top of almost 23 metres high pole.
Los Voladores de Papantla Los Voladores de Papantla


An inukshuk (inuksuit in plural) is a man-made stone landmark that exists in the Arctic region of North America. They are made by Inuit, Inupiat, Kalaallit, Yupik, and other people living in the region.
Inukshuk Inukshuk
An inukshuk can be small or big, a single rock, several rocks balanced on each other, round stone or flat one. Each inukshuk is different, unique.

Life on the Moon

Neil Armstrong stepped on the Moon on July 20, 1969. As far as it is known he did not find any living creature. Many cultures have different ideas who actually lives there. Japanese and Koreans say that on the Moon there are rabbits making rice cakes.


Tunarama is one of the most popular festivals in Australia. It is organized in Port Lincoln, SA during the Australia Day Long Weekend. This long weekend includes Monday closest to the 26th January. Tunarama lasts for four days. More than 40,000 people enjoy this festival. The first Tunarama festival was held in 1960.
Tunarama in Port Lincoln, SA Tunarama in Port Lincoln, SA

Gioco del Ponte

Today's journey will take us to Pisa. It is a city in the province of Tuscany located in central Italy. Pisa is a city with population of 87,506 (2007).
Leaning tower of Pisa Leaning tower of Pisa
For most people it's a city of famous Leaning tower of Pisa (in Italian Torre pendente di Pisa). Pisa is also the city of numerous churches, palaces and bridges over the Arno river.

The Night of Radishes

The Night of Radishes or Noche de Rabanos is celebrated every year on the 23rd of December in Oaxaca City, Mexico. The festival has been organized since 1897 in the „Zócalo“ (main square) of Oaxaca City. The main attraction of this event is an exhibition of sculptures made of large red radish. Radishes used in the event can weigh up to 3 kilograms and have length of about 50 centimeters.

Elephant polo

Elephant polo is a game quite similar to the polo most of us already know. It is just that players ride elephants instead of horses. Elephant polo is played in Nepal, Sri Lanka, India (state of Rajasthan) and Thailand. The game is played with 4 or in some situations 3 players in every team. Matches are set on a pitch of 100 metres by 70 metres. Every match is divided in two 10 minutes periods or "chukkers." The referee rides an elephant too.
Elephant polo Elephant polo


Gurning or chucking is a term which involves making distorted facial expressions. The most popular technique is putting your lower jaw forward and covering upper lip with your lower one. Experts claim that toothless persons can be especially good in gurning.
Gurning Gurning

Konaki Sumo

Konaki („crying“) Sumo or Nakizumo ("sumo of tears") is more than 400 years old tradition organized in some Japanese temples. Konaki Sumo organized every April in the Sensoji Temple in Tokyo includes almost 100 babies. Other locations with Konaki Sumo contests are Ikiko shrine in Kanuma-ski, Tochigi (contest in September); Yamajioji temple in Shimotsu-cho, Wakayama (contest in October); and at Saikyoji temple, Hirado (contest in February).

La Chiesa dei Morti

La Chiesa dei Morti or Church of the Dead is rather unusual small church in the Italian town of Urbania, Marche. It is also known as the Chapel Cola. It was built in 1380. Its main attraction is Cimitero delle mummie or the Mummies Cemetery. It includes 18 mummified bodies placed in glass coffins. They have been there since 1833.
Mummified body of Vincenzo Piccini Mummified body of Vincenzo Piccini


Harikuyo (Hari Kuyo) is a traditional Japanese memorial service dedicated to needles and pins. It is held in the late January and early February. In the past needles and pins were very valuable to every Japanese woman. During the ritual all broken or bent needles are put into a piece of tofu. When doing so special prayers are recited. At the end of ritual everything is wrapped in a piece of paper and put floating into the river. The most popular Harikuyo rituals are organized in Tokyo at Shojuin Temple and Shinganji Temple and in Asakusa at Sensoji Temple.

Silbo Gomero

La Gomera is one of Spanish Canary Islands. Due to rough island landscape it was not always easy to travel. That is why the locals found an unusual way of communicating to each other. For centuries they have been doing it by whistling. Their whistling language is called Silbo Gomero (Gomeran Whistle) or just el silbo (the whistle).

La Tomatina

This rather bizarre tomato fighting festival is organized in Spanish town of Buñol (about 38 kilometers away from Valenica) on the last Wednesday in August. La Tomatina festival is held in honour of the town's patron saints, St. Louis Bertrand (San Luis Bertràn) and the Mare de Déu dels Desemparats (Mother of God of the Defenseless), a title of the Virgin Mary. The festival started in 1945, but it was officially recognized in 1952.


The small town of Tarazona, Aragon is located in the northeast of Spain. Its patron saint is Saint Atilano. He is celebrated in the feast held between the 27th of August and 1st of September. The star of first day is the character known as the Cipotegato.
Cipotegato Cipotegato

Weighing the Mayor

High Wycombe is the English town in the Buckinghamshire. It is famous for its furniture industry and the market that has been organized there since the medieval times.

10 strange traditions (5)

(1) If you have ever wondered through the south of France you may noticed rather unusual symbols on the local doorways.

San Fermin

The Festival of San Fermin (Fiesta de San Fermin) is best known for its „el encierro“ or running of the bulls. It is organized from 7th to the 14th of July in city of Pamplona, located in the Navarre region of northern Spain.
San Fermin, patron saint of Pamplona San Fermin, patron saint of Pamplona

La Pourcailhade

La Pourcailhade or the festival of the pig is organized on the second sunday in August in Trie sur Baïse, Hautes-Pyrénées, France. The organizer of this festival is La Confrérie du Cochon or the Brotherhood of the Pig. The first festival was held in 1975. The main sensation of this unusual festival is the pig squealing championships. Competitors try to imitate sounds made by a pig. Different sounds have to be imitated like for example when pig is born or having sex. The festival also includes a black pudding eating competition, a piglet race and the best piggy costume contest.

Roasted pig parade

Roasted pig has quite an important place in the Philippines. Balayan is a town 108 kilometres south from Manila. It is famous for ist Roasted Pig Parade ("Parada ng Lechon") held every 24th of June as part of the feast of Saint John the Baptist.

Well dressing

Well dressing is an ancient tradition of decorating or "dressing" of wells and other water resources in Derbyshire, England. This tradition exists in the area since the time of Celts. Well dressing is performed from May until late September.
Well dressing in Yougreave, Derbyshire Well dressing in Yougreave, Derbyshire

World Pillow Fighting Championships

World Pillow Fighting Championships is organized in the American town of Kenwood, Ca. The competition has been part of local 4th of July (Independence Day) celebration for 36 years. Everyone who is more than 14 years old can participate. Two competitors holding a pillow sit face to face on a slippery wet pole that has been set over a layer of mud. Your mission is to get your opponent into the mud.