10 Crazy Festivals From Around The World You Have To See To Believe

Published on May 3, 2024

Credit: Adam Whitlock

When it comes to something universally loved worldwide, coming together to celebrate things is undoubtedly one of them. Anniversaries, popular traditions, and historical and religious events are an important part of human culture. Some places, however, take festivities to new heights, pushing the boundaries of social norms with crazy festivals and dangerous traditions.

From ancient traditions to modern-day spectacles, these 10 festivals offer a glimpse into the wonderfully weird tapestry of human culture. Get ready to expand your horizons and maybe even add a few new destinations to your bucket list!


La Tomatina

Credit: Graham McLellan, CC BY 2.0

Location: Buñol, Spain

For one day in August, the small town of Buñol in Spain becomes ground zero for the world's largest tomato fight. Thousands of participants hurl overripe tomatoes at each other in a messy, yet strangely cathartic, display of pure fun. The tradition originated in the 40s after a spontaneous tomato fight erupted during an unrelated festivity, and after that, it became so popular that everyone in town started to join in.


Boryeong Mud Festival

Credit: Jirka Matousek, CC BY 2.0

Location: Boryeong, South Korea

Every summer, the sleepy coastal town of Boryeong in South Korea transforms into a mud-soaked playground during the Boryeong Mud Festival. What started as a promotional event for the town's mineral-rich mud skincare products has evolved into a massive celebration featuring mud pools, mudslides, and even mud skiing competitions.


Songkran Water Festival

Credit: Takeaway, CC BY-SA 3.0

Location: Thailand

During Songkran known as the Thai New Year all Thailand engages in a country-wide water fight. Locals and tourists take to the streets armed with hoses and buckets, ready to douse each other with water in a symbolic cleansing ritual. Originating as a celebration of harvest and springtime, people traditionally throw water on images of Buddha or statues in Buddhist temples.


Baby Jumping

Credit: Tara Raye

Location: Castrillo de Murcia, Spain

In the village of Castrillo de Murcia in Spain, an unusual tradition takes place during the week-long festivities of Corpus Christi, a strange ritual known as El Colacho in Spanish, or "Baby Jumping". As part of the ritual, men dressed as devils jump over rows of babies born in the past year that lie on mattresses in the street. The tradition is believed to cleanse them of sin and protect them from evil spirits.


Carnival of Ivrea

Credit: Vfbia, CC BY-SA 4.0

Location: Ivrea, Italy

In a similar fashion to the Spanish Tomatina, the Carnival of Ivrea includes a traditional orange battle, where organized teams fight each other by throwing oranges. However, the festivity goes back to medieval times, as it commemorates the city’s successful rebellion against a local tyrant. The Carnival lasts three whole days, during which the orange battle rages on while various other minor traditions are held.


Burning Man

Credit: Bry Ulrick

Location: Nevada, U.S.A.

Burning Man isn't just a festival it's a temporary city built in the heart of the Nevada desert for one week each summer. This experimental community celebrates radical self-expression, art, and communal living, culminating in the ritual burning of a massive wooden effigy known as "The Man." Festival goers are encouraged to clean after themselves and embrace principles of inclusion and responsibility.


Running of the Bulls

Credit: San Fermin Pamplona - Navarra

Location: Pamplona, Spain

Each year in July, the Spanish city of Pamplona hosts the infamous Running of the Bulls during the Saint Fermin festival. Brave—or foolhardy—participants run alongside a herd of charging bulls through the narrow streets of the city in a thrilling display of adrenaline-fueled madness. Despite its inherent dangers (as one would expect, injuries are common), it's a tradition that dates back centuries and continues to attract thrill-seekers from around the world.


Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake

Credit: Dave Farrance, CC BY-SA 3.0

Location: Gloucestershire, England

In the tiny English village of Brockworth, Gloucestershire, an age-old tradition known as the Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake takes place each spring. Participants launch themselves down a steep hill in pursuit of a wheel of Double Gloucester cheese, risking life and limb for the chance to be named the winner. Recently, the quirky event gained worldwide recognition, with participants coming from all over the world for a chance to catch the elusive cheese.


Underwater Music Festival

Credit: Sime Basioli

Location: Looe Key Reef, United States

Ever dreamed of joining an underwater orchestra playing catchy old-time tunes? If that’s the case, then you definitely should go check out the Underwater Music Festival that takes place annually in the Florida Keys. This underwater spectacle features musicians playing specially designed instruments while submerged in the crystal-clear waters of Looe Key Reef, creating a one-of-a-kind sensory experience that blurs the line between art and nature.


Wife-carrying Contest

Credit: U.S. Air Force photo/Cortney Paxton

Location: Sonkajärvi, Finland

First introduced at Sonkajärvi, Finland, the Wife-Carrying Contest is exactly what you would expect from its name: male contestants race through an obstacle course while carrying their female partners on their backs. While the precise origin of this weird practice is not clear, today it’s considered sort of a joke sport though competitors tend to take it very seriously with the winners taking home the wife’s weight in beer.


Go On An Urban Safari With These 12 Architectural Terms

Published on May 3, 2024

Credit: Ricardo Gomez Angel

The realm of architecture is riddled with idioms that describe styles, technical features, concepts, and a million more things that make this ancient combination of art and science what it is.

Knowing a few of these terms can certainly be useful for impressing people in casual conversation but it can also prove valuable in understanding some of the key aspects of architecture. From gables to fenestrations, from Gothic to Brutalist architecture, the myriad of words in this discipline can confuse almost everyone. So, read on and learn about some of them.



Credit: Zibik

Derived from the Italian word balaustro , meaning "wild pomegranate flower", the baluster stands as a vertical pillar, typically slender and often intricately adorned, supporting railings along staircases, balconies, or terraces.

These architectural elements showcase both functionality and aesthetic finesse , adding a touch of elegance to structures. Serving as guardians of safety, balusters seamlessly blend form and function, illustrating the nuanced language that architects use to craft the spaces we inhabit.



Credit: Michael Elliott

Coming from the Old French word finir , meaning "to finish", the finial is a crowning jewel, a decorative ornament that graces the summits of structures, be they spires, gables, or sometimes even furniture.

With origins deeply rooted in medieval architecture, finials evolved from functional elements to exquisite expressions of craftsmanship. These sculpted finales, akin to miniature sculptures, punctuate the skyline and rooflines, completing architectural narratives with flair.



Credit: Chuttersnap

The term "cornice" comes as a defining feature, gracing buildings with a touch of grandeur . Originating from the Italian word cornice , meaning ledge, this architectural flourish sits proudly at the meeting point of walls and roofs, marking the transition from structure to sky.

Serving both functional and aesthetic purposes, cornices act as protective overhangs, shielding edifices from the elements while bestowing a visual exclamation point to their design. From the ornate cornices adorning historic buildings to the sleek, modern iterations of contemporary architecture, these elevated ledges narrate the tales of different eras and styles.



Credit: Ries Bosch

A word derived from the Middle French dormeor , meaning "sleeping room", dormers are akin to architectural eyelids, projecting windows vertically from a sloping roof. These structures not only invite natural light into attics and upper spaces but also introduce a captivating aesthetic rhythm to the roofline.

Dormers have adapted to various styles from Gothic to Colonial, each time giving spaces a sense of character and uniqueness.



Credit: Ricardo Gomez Angel

The term "cantilever" expresses a sort of defiance of gravity, a structural marvel that challenges conventional supports. Derived from the medieval Latin word cantileverium , meaning a "bracket" or "beam", cantilevers extend boldly from a building's main structure, seemingly suspended in mid-air.

These architectural marvels appear in everything from daring modern residences to iconic skyscrapers. Cantilevers not only push the boundaries of design but also serve practical purposes, creating overhangs, balconies, or awe-inspiring architectural feats.



Credit: Sara Sadehloo

Rooted in the ancient Greek word konops , meaning a covering or mosquito net, canopies are architectural appendages that transcend mere utility. These overhead structures, be they stretched over entrances, walkways, or outdoor spaces, offer protection from the elements while bestowing an aesthetic flourish.

From the intricate designs adorning historical structures to the sleek, modern lines of contemporary designs, canopies dually serve as functional guardians and artistic statements.



Credit: David Taljat

An arcade is a series of contiguous arches supported by columns or other vertical elements. It comes from the Italian word arcata which means, quite literally, "arch". These successions of arches, often forming covered walkways or open galleries, can be seen in both ancient structures and modern urban landscapes.

Whether framing crowded shopping malls or adorning historical buildings, arcades seamlessly blend aesthetic charm with functional allure.



Credit: Joseph Corl

Gables adorn roofs with a distinct silhouette that speaks to architectural heritage. Derived from the Old French gable or gabulum , meaning "end of a building", a gable is the triangular portion of a wall between the edges of a sloping roof.

Whether gracing the facades of historic cottages or modern structures, gables add a touch of elegance and visual interest to the skyline. These peaked beauties, often embellished with decorative elements, symbolize the meeting point of form and function.



Credit: Nathan Cima

A quite elegant word in itself, an "architrave" is an element that graces the transitions between columns and structures. Derived from the Greek words archi , meaning "chief", and trabe , meaning "beam", the architrave serves as t he principal beam resting atop columns , forming an essential part of classical architectural orders.

This horizontal member, though often understated, bears the weight of the entablature, symbolizing the subtle elegance that defines architectural cohesion. Whether in ancient temples or contemporary buildings, architraves showcase a marriage of function and aesthetics, illustrating the enduring influence of classical principles in shaping our built environments.



Credit: J. M Read

A "buttress" is a steadfast guardian, supporting structures with a blend of strength and purpose. Derived from the Old French word bouteresse , meaning a prop or support, a buttress is an external architectural feature designed to counteract the lateral thrust exerted by a building, particularly in the case of large or Gothic structures.

These architectural reinforcements come in various forms, from flying buttresses gracefully spanning cathedral walls to massive earthbound counterparts.



Credit: Scott Webb

In the world of architecture, "cladding" unveils itself as the outer skin, a protective and aesthetic layer that dresses buildings in a myriad of materials. Rooted in the Middle English word "clad," meaning clothed, cladding is the art of enveloping structures to shield them from the elements while shaping their visual identity.

Whether manifesting as sleek glass panels on modern skyscrapers or rustic stone on historic structures, cladding reflects the character and purpose of a building.



Credit: Kenrick Baksh

"Fenestration" is the art of placement and design of windows and other openings in a building's facade. Coming from the Latin word fenestra , meaning "window", fenestration goes beyond mere openings, including the arrangement, size, and style of windows to shape the visual and functional aspects of a structure.

Whether framing panoramic views in contemporary skyscrapers or punctuating historical buildings with rhythmic precision, fenestration is the orchestration of light, ventilation, and aesthetics.

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