World's Wackiest Holidays
Photo By: Jeff Swensen
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Photo By: © Vasily Fedosenko / Reuters, Reuters Picture Stream/MED
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Every Feb. 2, we rely on a groundhog to predict the weather. If Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, we accept 6 more weeks of cold weather. And if Phil doesn’t, we can hope for an early spring.
Revellers pelt each other during the world's biggest tomato fight at the Tomatina Festival on the last Wednesday in August, in Bunol, Spain.
Summer solstice is celebrated during the Ivana Kupala festival near Orsha, Belarus. Originally a pagan tradition, the festival includes bathing in a lake or river, plus jumping over burning campfires -- a practice believed to purify oneself of sin.
Russian men take part in push fights during Maslenitsa (Pancake Week), also known as a winter farewell holiday in Russia. Maslenitsa, a traditional Russian holiday that marks the end of winter, dates back to pagan times.
Hindu devotees play with colored powders during Holi celebrations at the Bankey Bihari Temple in Vrindavan, India. Holi, the spring festival of colors, is celebrated by Hindus worldwide with an explosion of color to mark the end of winter.
Designed to promote the work of local artisans who weave traditional wool ponchos, this celebration includes parades with ponchos galore -- even on dogs, sheep and parrots.
The traditional festival of fire known as "Up Helly Aa" takes place annually on the last Tuesday of January in Shetland, UK. Participants in full costume haul a Viking longboat through the streets as paraders throw flaming torches into the galley.
Hadaka Matsuri is a festival for ritual purification held in different forms across Japan, where almost fully-naked men compete for lucky sacred sticks.
In Vanuatu, virile young men take the plunge in an annual religious ceremony known as the land dive to celebrate the end of the yam harvest.
Mark your calendars. Every Sept. 19 you can say "ahoy matey" and "arrr!" without getting strange looks.