Always wanted a reason to give your noisy next door neighbor a punch? Well here it is. You can just say you're taking long distance part in the Punch Your Neighbor festival, which is also called the Tinku Festival, and takes part mostly in Bolivia. These festivals are thought to be around 600 years old, and pay homage to ancient Pagan ceremonies where they thought that the more blood that was produced, the happier the gods would be. So they literally sometimes punched each other to death. What a happy holiday.
In the quaint Spanish coastal town of Lekeitio, every year they dress up, celebrate, and hang a large dead goose from a string. Why? It's Goose Day, of course. That's literally the only explanation we've been able to find, besides that they're celebrating the patron saint of their village. Maybe he was really, really fond of geese. They cover the goose in grease and jump on the rope in an attempt to decapitate it. Sometimes, there's more than one goose, and it's a race to see who can decapitate it the fastest. If there's any question on who won, they settle it the old fashioned way. With a boat race, of course.
Bonza Bottler Day is celebrated whenever the number of the month matches up with the number of the day. For example, December 12th is Bonza Bottler Day. So, as you can puzzle together, Bonza Bottler Day Happens once a month. The proper way to celebrate is with a party, and yes, parties are actually thrown for this. It's an Australian Holiday, and as you can see, its mascot is a dancing groundhog that gets his kicks from throwing confetti.
Sorry, was that a sneeze? No, it's Up-Helly-Aa, the festival that takes place in Lerwick, Shetland, on the last Tuesday in January every year. It's a Viking tradition that celebrates the rebirth of the sun, so as you can see, there's a lot of fire. It begins with a torch procession, and ends with throwing those torches into a Viking ship replica. Come on, that was a perfectly good Viking ship.
This is also called The Naked Man Festival, and we don't really have to explain why. It's celebrated in Japan on the third Saturday of February, which is traditionally one of the coldest nights of the year. The rituals vary from village to village, but it's a way to prove their manhood and gain luck for the coming year. In Okayama, the men bathe in the Yoshi river, run to the temple, and try to catch the sticks thrown to them by priests.
This English festival held on January 7th is probably pretty bad for anyone with hay fever. It originated in Whittlesea when as described in the newspaper in 1882, after Plough Day, a man was dressed up in straw. "[H]e was then taken around the town to entertain by his frantic and clumsy gestures the good folk who had on the previous day subscribed to the rustics, a spread of beer, tobacco and beef." Who knows why, but this tradition was revived in 1980, and is still going strong.
Talk about a food fight. In Spain, about 30,000 locals and tourists get together and throw tomatoes at each other. We can't decide if this sounds fun or terrible. They do it in the town square of Bunol, all with locally grown tomatoes. Those farmers must be sort of sad. There is no concrete explanation for the origins of the festival, but some think it may have been a form of anti-religious protest. Tomatoes are one way to solve a problem, we guess.
Around Christmastime in Oaxaca, Mexico, carving radishes is a lot like carving pumpkins. On December 23rd, they carve radishes into all kinds of figures, often nativity scenes. It began in 1897 when Oaxacan farmers sold their wares at the Christmas Vigil Market, and wanted to make them more appealing to compete with the other sellers. Now, competitions are held for the best radish carver.
In May, this festival is held in Hong Kong to help drive away evil spirits and provide good luck to the residents who are at sea. Three towers made completely of sweet buns and pastries, going up to sixty feet high each, are placed in front of the Pak Tai Temple. People then run to the towers and grab as much of the bread as they can. The people who are able to grab the most bread are said to have the best luck.
This holiday is also called Setsubun, and it's all about celebrating the first day of spring and allowing room for good luck. it's celebrated in Japan at many shrines and temples throughout the country. The beans represent vitality, and are thought to symbolize driving away bad spirits. While throwing the beans, they chant, "Out with evil! In with good fortune!" What a coincidence. We sometimes chant that, too.
You wouldn't guess it from the photograph, but this holiday is also called Silent Night, and it's celebrated in complete silence. To ring in the Balinese Lunar New Year, security guards patrol the streets to ensure that people are at home, thinking about what they want the next year of their life to be like. There's no talking, radios or television. The next day is followed by a carnival.
Surprise, surprise, this holiday is held in Alaska. It's essentially a contest to try to guess the exact date and time that the ice will crack on the Tenana River, and officially turn Wwinter into spring. They set out a giant tripod onto the ice, and when the ice melts, the tripod sinks. There's a rope tied to the tripod, and when it's sinking it pulls on the rope, which is tied to a clock. The clock stops, and the winner is announced. Doesn't sound confusing at all.
The landlocked country of Bolivia celebrates - or mourns - the day that Bolivia lost the "Litoral," a portion of land running along the Pacific coast in the War of the Pacific. There are parades by school children and the military throughout the country. Except they're not happy parades. It's a rather solemn affair, and they sometimes listen to recordings of ship horns and sea gulls to remember wha they lost.
We guess we never really do fully appreciate our weather man. He tells us whether or not to weather the weather we should pack a sweater. February 5th, 1774, was the birth of John Jeffries, one of the first weatherpeople in America. You can celebrate by going on your phone and checking the weather. If it rains, tell your weatherman thanks for nothing.
15. Run It Up The Flagpole And See If Anyone Salutes It Day
By the time you're done announcing what day it is, the day is already halfway over. It's celebrated on January 2nd, and originated from the American idiom that means that you should try out new ideas to see if people like them. How should you commemorate this fine day of the year? Probably run something up the flagpole and see if anyone salutes.