1) Kanamara Matsuri – Kawasaki, Japan
Trust it to be in Japan.
Translating into English as ‘The Steel Phallus’, this festival is held at an ancient shrine in the Japanese town of Kawasaki. They say it’s a Shinto fertility festival, but really, we all know it’s just an excuse to whap out a massive steel penis for giggles. They even sell candy and vegetables in the shape of willies. Let’s all move to Japan!
Hundreds of people descend upon the town to see the steel penis and follow it through the streets.
Apparently prostitutes used to love this festival. They believed praying to the shrine prevented the spread of sexually transmitted infections. Makes sense.
2) The Cow Dung Festival – County Mayo, Ireland
Who would’ve thought cow poo could win you 1000 Euros?
The Cow Dung Festival is a big deal in Ireland. Attracting surprisingly large crowds, the main attraction here is essentially a game that’s a loose variant of Bingo. Every year, a ‘Cow Dung Festival Queen’ is selected (a title I’m sure you’re all wishing you had), and Betsy the festival cow is brought onto a field that’s divided into equal sized sections.
Yep, you got it! Whoever places their bets on the section Betsy poos in wins a prize. It’s just that simple.
3) The Goat Tossing Festival – Manganeses de la Polvorosa, Spain
We’re not sure how we feel about this age old tradition...
Every year in Spain, the residents of Manganeses de la Polvorosa gather and chuck a goat from the top of a 50 foot high church. Apparently it’s in honour of St Vincent de Paul, the patron saint of the area, though we’re not too sure how Vincent would feel about this either. Y'know, animal cruelty and all that.
The goat is then caught in a sheet by people below and paraded through the village on their shoulders. As you do...
4) Mobile Phone Throwing Championships - Finland
The Finnish really love to show how proud they are of their home-grown company, Nokia. How? By throwing their products as far as they can, of course.
This is probably one of the more expensive hobbies to take up. Starting in 2005, the mobile phone throwing championships really don’t have many rules. As you can probably imagine, unless you’re in the freestyle competition, all you have to do is throw your mobile phone over-arm and as far as you can.
The current world record holder for mobile phone throwing is a chap called Ere Karjalainen, who managed to throw his phone a massive 101 metres.
5) The Cheese Rolling Festival – Gloucestershire, England
The most quintessentially English festival ever?
It’s all in the name really for this event. Every year, for the past 250 years, roughly 80 hardcore cheese-rollers congregate on Cooper Hill in Gloucestershire. The competitors chase a wheel of cheese down a ridiculously steep hill and the first person to reach it wins the cheese. Yup, just the cheese, nothing else.
Injuries are rife in this absolutely ridiculous event, with broken wrists, missing teeth and dislocated shoulders being a common occurence. Some people finish the race unconscious at the bottom of the hill. But hey, if you’re going to chase a wheel of cheese down a hill, you deserve to be unconscious.
So if you do find that you're bored of uni and want to go a bit crazy in Gloucestershire, or whilst on holiday in Spain, go for it. But if you end up dead at the bottom of a hill, don't say I didn't warn you.