Looking for something truly memorable to do on your next vacation? Grab your First Aid Kit and head to one of these exciting events:
*The Entroida Festival
This festival is supposed to celebrate purification, so you just know angry fire ants will be involved. The Entroida Festival occurs in Laza, Spain—it’s a seven day celebration leading up to Ash Wednesday. The earliest parts are pretty boring—just drunk men running through the streets carrying flaming torches and being pelted with mud. But near the end, locals get pretty serious about this purification thing—they shovel fire ants into dirt-filled sacks, douse them with vinegar to really piss them off, then throw them at people’s faces. Bags of fun.
*The Burning Tar Barrel Festival
Every November—for reasons no one seems to remember—the citizens of Ottery, England, collect over a dozen large, heavy barrels, line them with tar and light them on fire. They used to roll the barrels through the streets—but that got boring, so now they run around carrying the flaming barrels on their shoulders. Thinking of getting involved in this one? I’d suggest a brush cut—and flame-retardant shampoo.
*Las Bolas de Fuego (Balls of Fire) Festival
Every August in Nejapa, El Salvador, people paint their faces, put on wet clothing, then sling kerosene-soaked fireballs at each other for two hours straight. Locals still argue about what this is supposed to symbolize—I’d suggest just agreeing with the guy who’s making eye contact and holding a flaming fireball. Yes, onlookers sometimes get hit, but the organizers brag that “spectators rarely receive more than minor burns.”
*Bombing Master Handan
In Taiwanese folklore, Handan—the God of Wealth—hates being cold, so if you want to have a financially successful year, you need to (symbolically) warm him up by pelting a stranger with firecrackers and bottle rockets. Apparently, that’s why, every February in Taitung, Taiwan, several volunteers strip down to their shorts, stand on chairs and get carried around while hundreds of people throw lit explosives at them.
Me? I think I’ll take up knitting.