Line Festivals are not always about good food, good music and good company. It can be nerve wrecking, adrenaline pumping event as well. Here are some of the most dangerous and wild festivals around the world:
San Fermin, Spain
You might have heard about it or even seen it unfold in the famous sequence from ZNMD. The poster child for “dangerous festivals” has to be the legendary Festival of San Fermin or ‘Running of the Bulls’ in Pamplona, Spain. Every year from the 7th to the 14th of July, you will see people dressed in the traditional white uniforms with a red scarf sprint for their lives along a quarter-mile course through the narrow, cobbled streets chased by six charging fighting bulls. On an average around 50-100 people are injured during the run. Though not all of the injuries require taking the patients to the hospital, there are chances of people being gored to death or injured quite seriously. This centuries-old tradition appears on many bucket lists and attracts over one million spectators.
Our own captain Nero has a chilling experience to share. You can read it here.
Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake, UK
To what lengths can you go to get cheese? Well in UK you might have to tumble down a hill. The Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake has been held annually over the past 200 years in Brockworth, Gloucestershire, UK. Participants chase a huge wheel of Double Gloucester cheese weighing almost 8 pounds as it rolls down the steep, grassy hill, reaching a top speed of 70 miles per hour. In hot pursuit are the chasers who tumble and fall wildly out of control. The number of injuries–including sprains, concussions, and fractured bones–is often high. Even bystanders have been known to be injured by out-of-control runners or bouncing cheeses. Whoever knew cheese could cause so much damage?
Every six years hundreds of Japanese men try to pile onto a 200-year-old pine tree, and try to slide it down a mountain. The Onbashira or Honored Pillars Festival takes place in the Lake Suwa region of Nagano prefecture in Japan. Sixteen ancient fir trees are felled and cut into 17-meter logs that weigh over ten tons. Decorated in the traditional colors of red and white, the logs are hauled across the river and up a steep, rocky hill by hundreds of local men dressed in colorful costumes. They then ride them at high speed down the other side, trying not to fall off or get hurt. With men still clinging on, the logs are then erected into position at the shrines. People who fall risk injuries and death due to the fall or getting crushed under the log. Past festivals have seen drownings, participants being crushed, or falling while the logs are being raised. This crazy, adrenaline-fueled event is considered the most dangerous event in Japan and attracts many tourists over a two-month period.
Naghol is a festival celebrated on Pentecost Island in Vanuatu. When the yam crop begins to emerge in early April, locals build wooden towers between 20-30m high. Once completed, the entire village gathers under the tower. They sing, dance and stomp loudly on the ground to bless the village with generous harvests. The air is filled with chants, whistles and the sound of stomping of feet. When you look up, there is a man standing on the top of the tower. His ankles are tied to vines. And without any safety measures, he jumps to the ground. As the diver falls he curls his head under his chin and let his shoulders touch the ground as a blessing to make the ground fertile for the next year’s yam crop. The vine springs him back into the air before the impact kills them.
Yes, it is bungee jumping. But a lot scarier and dangerous than the one we know about. A lot of us give credit to New Zealand for introducing us to bungee jumping. But not many people know that this adventurous sport was invented in Vanuatu. AJ Hackett saw this festival and was greatly inspired by the idea. Thus the first commercial bungee jumping began in 1986 in Auckland. Naghol Land Diving is not just a deadly sport, but it is a rite of passage ceremony of the village men. There is also a common belief “The better the jump, the better the yams.” Too much pressure this is!
What can someone do on Christmas? Decorate the Christmas tree, eat good food and spend some time with friends and family! Well not in Peru. Here Christmas is the day to settle the grievances and disputes. And how is it done? Of course by starting a fight. The word “tananakuy” means “to hit each other” in the local Quechua language, and that pretty much sums up the essence of this particular festival. These fights are held in makeshift rings with spectators looking on. You will see everyone from men, women and even children kicking each other. To keep the proceedings from going out of control, the referees carry whips. Now we know, who is on Santa’s ‘Bad behaviour’ list!