“Holi” – the Indian Festival of Colours, is the most beloved festival that is celebrated in every galli and nookad in India, irrespective of state or religion.
Just the thought of Rangwali Holi brings immense happiness. Doesn’t it?
People gathering in large crowds to light large bonfires to celebrate victory of good over evil, kids running behind each other with pichkaris and water guns, throwing water balloons, smearing each others faces with colours especially gulal, savoring puran polis, gujiyas and other delicacies, drinking bhaang, dancing to live music etc. are all part of the fun activities that take place on Holi.
But what if we tell you that we are not the only ones to enjoy a festival that is synonymous with mess, masti and madness. There are many international festivals around the world that are similar to Holi but celebrated with other props other than colours.
Let’s have a look at Holi like Festivals around the world:
1. Boryeoung Mud Festival, South Korea – A Festival of Mud fights!
In 1998, an ad campaign that was initiated as a marketing stunt to promote the positive medicinal effects of mud close to Boryeong is now an annual festival that draws million of locals and tourists to Daecheon Beach in Boryeong City every year to do all things mud: play, get dirty, messy, wild and enjoy all activities with mud. Close to 2 million visitors travel to Boryeong City bringing with them tens of millions of tourist dollars. Due to its popularity, the festival was extended to 9 days.
A large stage is built where one can expect music, drinking, dancing, wrestling, mud marathon, mud painting, mud-sliding, mud prison, mud king contest, mud rock concerts, mud fireworks, mud massage and even swimming in mud. Moreover, visitors indulge in a wide assortment of other interactive activities like making soap from mud powder and aroma oils. And, once you’re done with the ‘mudness’, there are several showers on the festival grounds to get all the mud off your skin.
Ready to plunge into mud? Get your South Korea visa and other travel arrangements ready to get down and dirty at this classic mud fest.
2. La Tomatina, Spain – A Festival of Tomato Fights!
One big red mess; this festival needs no introduction!
Many will be familiar with this festival, thanks to the movie ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara‘.
Held on the last Wednesday of August each year in the Valencian town of Buñol in Spain, La Tomatina is the craziest, wildest and certainly most traditional festival in the world. This annual festival involves individuals throwing tomatoes and is perhaps the largest food fight in the world, solely for entertainment purposes. Thousands of locals and international tourists arrive at the town square to hurl tomatoes at each other.
How the tradition was born: In 1945, there was a parade being held in the main square. Few young men who were watching the parade wanted to interrupt and cause the participants to fall. They picked tomatoes from a vegetable stand nearby and soon a tomato fight ensued. Next year onwards, the same boys carried out the tomato fight bringing their own tomatoes. This gave birth to the La Tomatina festival!
To witness and participate in this food fight, tourists from across the globe flock to Spain in large numbers. If you too wish to participate in this fiesta madness, book your travel arrangements well in advance. The reason being, unavailability of accommodation, steep flight tickets, delayed Spain visa process etc.
While India celebrates Holi with colours, Spain celebrates with tomatoes.
3. Chinchilla Watermelon Festival, Australia – A Festival of Melon Fights!
The Melon Capital of Australia, Chinchilla, a friendly Queensland town regularly pulls more than 15,000 visitors to participate in a range of fun and quirky melon-related experiences, including melon skiing, melon sliding, melon bullseye, melon race, melon tossing, melon hat wearing to melon iron man, melon-eating competition, melon bungee, biggest melon weigh-in and melon farm tours among others. Furthermore, the festival also involves other entertainment activities such as a beach party, street parade, market stalls, free family activities, festival feasts, a golf day, a poets’ breakfast, and arts and crafts exhibition among others.
The flourishing Chinchilla hosts the world’s biggest Melon festival every second February since 1994. During this time, the western Queensland town transforms into a sea of pink and green. To add to it, Chinchilla is home to an eight-metre-wide melon structure which is a ‘must see’ tourist attraction on your Australian holiday for sure. Interestingly, Chinchilla town produces nearly 25% of Australia’s watermelons, as well as, rockmelons, and honeydew melons.
If you want to see watermelon being smashed, celebrated and eaten, plan a trip to Australia around the festival time. The Australia visa takes around 15 to 20 days for processing. The next 15th biannual Melon festival will be celebrated in 2023.
4. Haro Wine Festival, Spain – A Festival of Red Wine Fights!
Held every year on the 29th of June in the town of Haro in the La Rioja region of northern Spain, people, old and young dressed in white shirts and red scarves began a wine battle wherein litres and litres of red wine is thrown over each other, with the aim of making them more purple than the flag of Haro. It’s very similar to the La Tomatina festival, just that tomatoes are replaced with wine.
Participants cover each other in wine using buckets, backpack-style sprayers, squirt guns, and other wine-filled recipients that can dispense the grape-derived drink. By the end of the event, everyone’s clothes go from white to purple. The best part is that families with kids can also attend the event, as kids have their own children’s version of the battle.
The Haro town is one of the biggest wine producers in Spain, producing approximately 40% of perfect Rioja’s wine. Nearly over 50,000 liters of wine is used for this unique event.
If you love wine, then you better be attending the Haro Wine Festival which will be held in June 2022.
5. Songkran, Thailand – A Festival of Water Fights!
Songkran is a traditional Thai New Year Festival (Thai water-throwing festival) that runs over three days of public holidays from the morning of April 13th till April 15th every year. During this auspicious period, people of all ages and status gather together to offer food to monks, visit temples, pay homage to their ancestors and splash water on each other as a purification rite.
The noble tradition of sprinkling scented water by the young on elders in exchange for a blessing is now a more fun affair involving locals and tourists. Buckets and containers of water are thrown on each other in an all-out friendly water war. Other than friendly water fights, other entertaining activities include music concerts, fun fairs, Miss Songkran parade, beauty contests, street parties and staged events among others. International tourists from different parts of the world travel to Thailand just to be a part of the wet and wild water activities.
The Songkran festival is most famous in Chiang Mai, Silom Road, Khao San Road, Phuket and Pattaya for its impressive celebrations among both the Thai and foreigners. Furthermore, since April is the hottest month of the year in Thailand, no one minds being soaked.
6. Battle of the Oranges, Ivrea, Italy – A Festival of Orange Fights!
Held every year in the northern Italian city of Ivrea, Battle of the Oranges is Italy’s largest food fight that involves people throwing over a million pounds of oranges on each other. Though the origin and history behind this battle is unclear, it attracts travellers from all over the world.
The battle is free to watch, greatly structured and contains few competitive streaks. Organised groups spend the day throwing oranges at each other and have been doing so since 1808. Held over a period of three days, every corner of the town is filled with the smell of oranges. By the end of the festival, its more fun to watch everyone covered in orange juice and its pulp.
Playing with oranges might sound like a fun way to spend your trip, don’t you think? In case you don’t like the thought of orange being smashed to the face, you can always just choose to be a spectator. Just wear a rep cap (Berretto Frigio) and you’ll be considered as a spectator and not a target.
Besides the orange throwing battle, there is a myriad of places to see and things to do in Italy. Join one of our Italy tours, process your Italy visa and get ready to be awed by the mystic beauty of Italy.
7. Cascamorras Festival, Spain – A Festival of Grease Fights !
La Tomatina is not the only bizarre festival of Spain. Turns out, there’s another whacky festival which the Spanish celebrate with glory.
Considered as Fiesta of National Tourist Interest of Spain, the Cascamorras Festival is held annually in September in the small town of Baza, Granada Spain. More than 15,000 revelers throw black paint on each other in a good natured fight.
Ironically, the 15th century dispute between two Spanish towns of Baza and Guadix over ownership of a religious statue gave rise to this 500-year old festival. In a staged attempt, a resident from Guadix dressed as a clown called ‘The Cascamorras’, along with fellow villagers, travel to Baza, to recover the statue. Thousands of locals from Baza try to make the Cascamorras as ‘dirty’ as possible by throwing ink, grease and coloured water, ensuring his failure. The goal is to stop Cascamorras from stealing the statue by staining him. Though the dispute is long forgotten, today’s celebration is just an excuse for residents of both towns as well as visitors to get filthy and party.
Have you ever wanted to visit a country to participate in their local festival? It’s time you do!!
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