It’s always nice to get a day off of work for a public holiday, but some of the must intriguing holidays in the world are the more obscure ones. Here are ten weird holidays to add to your calendar this year:
1. September 19th: International Talk Like a Pirate Day
Since 1995, this parody holiday has encouraged people to replace their everyday mundane speech with pirate phrases. It has gained more and more steam each year since and become a pop culture phenomenon, spawning countless pirate-themed parties and media events each year.
2. June 6th: International Day of Slayer
Fans of the heavy metal band Slayer formed a National Day of Slayer Task Force, promoting a June 6th holiday in 1996. That’s right: 6/6/6. They had such overwhelming fan success that they’ve continued to celebrate it annually. Participants are encouraged to play Slayer loudly in their cars or public places (minus headphones to spread the love) or to cover Slayer songs if they’re in a band of their own. More timid celebrators can stage a “Slay-out”, staying home from work to listen to Slayer all day. The National Day of Slayer Task Force makes it clear that an important aspect of the holiday is forcing it on non-participants.
3. Spring: Copper’s Hill Cheese Rolling and Wake
This event takes place annually near Gloucester, United Kingdom. Though its origins are unclear, it is hundreds of years old. A wheel of cheese is rolled down a hill and competitors scramble down the hill after it, often injuring themselves in the process. Theoretically, the goal is to catch the cheese, but since it is gets a one second head start and reaches high speeds, this is rarely occurs. Instead, the first person across the finish line wins the cheese.
4. Vanuatu Land Diving Festival
In Vanuatu a traditional rite of passage is a primitive form of bungee jumping. Tribesmen construct a wooden tower and scale it, diving from the top with bungee chords made of vines. This is also meant to ensure a good yam harvest, and jumpers are considered the most successful when they actually hit their heads on the ground, making it extremely dangerous.
5. January 24th: Goat Tossing Festival
The annual Goat Toss in the town of Manganeses de la Polvorosa in northwest Spain is dedicated to the town’s patron saint, St. Vincent. Though the exact origins and purpose for the spectacle are a subject of some debate, the practice has exist for ages. A goat is thrown from the upper story of a bell tower, where it plummets into a crowd of villagers who attempt to catch it with a sheet.
6. Lopburi Monkey Buffet
This relatively new holiday’s prime purpose is to promote tourism. Each year in November, the thousands of monkeys in Thailand’s Lopburi province are treated to a grand feast of fruit and vegetables in honor of the historical hero Rama, who is said to have given Lopburi to his ally, Hanuman the Monkey King.
7. July: The Chap & Hendrick’s Olympics
A tongue-in-cheek holiday, The Chap & Hendrick’s Olympics is a competition for old fashioned English gentlemen who appreciate the finer aspects of life. Events include such tasks as mixing dry martinis and racing with pipes.
8. Spring: Kanamara Matsuri
The Japanese Kanamara Matsuri (“Festival of the Steel Phallus”) is a Shinto fertility festival held each Spring in Kawasaki. The imagery of the festival is focused entirely on the penis, from candy and decorations to a giant float carried through the streets. Legend has it that a sharp-toothed demon lived inside the vagina of a young woman, castrating two men before a blacksmith made an iron phallus that shattered its teeth.
9. May/June: El Colacho
The festival of El Colacho (“baby jumping”) dates back to 1620. In Castrillo de Murcia, Spain, the Feast of Corpus Christi is celebrated in a truly strange manner – grown men dressed as devils leap over rows of babies to cleanse them of evil.
10. January/February: Thaipusam
Thaipusam, dedicated to the Hindu god Murugan, is celebrated primarily in India and Tamil-speaking communities in Southeast Asia. A predominant feature in many Thaipusam celebrations is piercing various parts of the body with hooks or long skewers called “vel”.
Some of them are solemn and some of them are celebratory. Some are serious and some are tongue-in-cheek. Even despite their remarkable diversity, holidays always mean someone to someone, even the strange ones.