Thaipusam, India, Malaysia, Singapore
Thaipusam is a Hindu festival held annually in January/February in India, Singapore and Malaysia. It is celebrated mostly by Tamil people and celebrates the birth of Murugan, the son of gods Shiva and Parvati. For the celebration, revellers shave their heads and perform a pilgrimage, and it spirals downwards from there. At the end of the rituals, participants shove sharp skewers through their tongues or cheeks and some put hooks on their back to pull heavy objects. The aim of the festivities is to endure as much pain as possible, and those who endure the most are said to be given the most blessings.
Fiesta de Santa Marta de Ribarteme, Spain
Spain is a Mecca for bizarre festivals, and the Fiesta de Santa Marta de Ribarteme is no exception. The festival is held annually in Las Nieves for people who have suffered near-death experiences in the last year. The participants gather for a Mass in celebration of the Patron Saint of resurrection, Saint Marta de Ribarteme, either carrying a coffin, or being carried in a coffin. The festival ends with fireworks and selling of religious objects.
El Colacho (Baby Jumping Festival), Spain
Continuing with bizarre Spain festivals, the annual El Colacho (baby jumping) is one of the most strangest and dangerous in practice. Dating back to 1620, El Colacho is held on the feast of Corpus Christi in the village of Castrillo de Murcia. The festival involves laying babies (one year and under) on mattresses, while adult men dress up as devils and take turn jumping over them. It is believed that the jumping rids babies of original sin, and is considered almost like a baptism. Needless to say, it results in many injuries (mostly the men).