World’s wackiest festivals

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AP

Holi, the Hindu festival of colors, also heralds the coming of spring.

Baby jumping, tuna tossing and cheese rolling are some of the wacky pastimes being celebrated in Europe, the UK, Asia and America.

Zoe Illingworth of youth travel specialists, Student Flights, says that by scouring the globe for juicy jaunts she has rounded up a top 5 list of the world's wackiest festivals to add to the calendar this year.

For those after a tamer option, there is also a pick of favourites including Oktoberfest, Mardi Gras and Rio Carnival.

Check them out below.

1. El Colacho: the Baby-Jumping Festival (Spain)

El Colacho has seen grown men leap over newborn babies in celebration of the Catholic festival of Corpus Christi since 1620. Donning scary, vaguely Elvis-like costumes and wielding whips and truncheons, the men attempt to cleanse the babies of evil. Strangely enough, leaping over them is believed to be the best way to achieve this.

2. Hadakamatsuri: The Naked Festival (Japan)

This is a type of Japanese festival where participants wear a minimum amount of clothing, instead of going completely naked. Outfits usually compromise of a Japanese loincloth (called fundoshi) with a short happi coat. Naked festivals are held in dozens of places throughout Japan every year, usually in the summer or winter. Hidden somewhere in the midst of all these men in loincloths is one fully naked man, who is believed to bring good luck and happiness.

3. Holi: the Festival of Colors (India)

Holi is a popular Hindu spring festival in India, Guyana, and Nepal where locals collaborate on the streets to throw coloured powder and water at each other. Traditionally, it is held on the second day, known as Dhulhendi, in spring. People believe the weather change causes viral fever and cold, therefore the playful throwing of the powders has a medicinal significance, with colours made of Neem, Kumkum, Haldi, Bilva and other medicinal herbs prescribed by Ayurvedic doctors.

4. Cheese Rolling Festival: Cotswolds (England)

This goofy cheese-rolling activity is actually very dangerous. Racers zoom down the hill behind a madly spinning seven-pound wheel of cheese, which can reach speeds of up to 70 mph. First to the bottom wins the cheese. Police have attempted to ban the event, but participants have refused to observe the ban. Men and their cheese wheels cannot be separated easily, evidently.

5. Tunarama: the Tuna Tossing Festival (Australia)

The Tunarama festival, held in Port Lincoln on the tip of Eyre Peninsula, takes part during the Australia Day long weekend in January. The highlight of the festival is the tuna tossing competition. Ex-Olympic hammer thrower, Sean Carlin, holds the record for the longest toss at 37.23 metres set in 1998. When the festival began in 1962, it was intended to promote the emerging tuna fishing industry in Port Lincoln, which nowadays is home to Australia's largest tuna cannery.

OTHER POPULAR FESTIVALS AROUND THE WORLD:

January: Chinese New Year – Hong Kong, China

February: Rio Carnival – Rio de Janiero, Brazil

March: St Patrick’s Day Parade – Dublin, Ireland

May: White Nights Festival – St Petersburg, Russia

June: Rathra Yathra Chariot Festival – Puri, India

July: Running with the Bulls - Pamplona, Spain

August: Edinburgh Military Tattoo – Edinburgh Castle, Scotland

September: Oktoberfest – Munich, Germany

October: Halloween - Transylvania, Romania

December: Hogmanay - Edinburgh, Scotland

Student Flights has cheap flights, round-the-world airfares and accommodation packages for party addicts to embrace in the energy of each festival.

Kick off your travel plans at www.studentflights.co.za or speak to a Student Flights consultant on 0860 400 737.

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