Whether spoken or implied, people often have a set of food rules they live by. We learn from a young age to not throw our food, share our meals with animals, or play with the veggies, fruits, and proteins on our plates. However, these same rules that seem pretty standard when it comes to dinnertime etiquette sometimes get completely thrown into the metaphorical food waste bin when it comes to festivals.
Because food brings people together in social settings and sets the tone for many cultural identities, festival attendees around the world love celebrating it any way they can, whether bizarre, fun, outrageous, or a mix of all three.
- 145 VOTES
Pancake Races Take Place Throughout The UK On Pancake Day
Pancake Day, also called Shrove Tuesday, began in the UK as a way to prepare for the Christian season of Lent. As families prepared for their 40 days of fasting, they made pancakes to help get rid of the extra eggs and fat they had in their kitchens. During the day, a church bell also rings, signifying the faithful to come to confess their sins to be absolved before Lent begins the next day.
Legend holds that in 1445, a woman was in the middle of making her family pancakes when she heard the church bell calling her to confess. As she ran to the church in her dress and apron, she carried a frying pan filled with a pancake. Now, dressed-up housewives throughout Buckinghamshire participate in the annual Pancake Race. Contestants must wear an apron, carry a pancake-filled pan, and flip the cake at least three times as they race to the finish line on the church grounds.
- 273 VOTES
Cooper's Hill, Near Gloucester In England, Hosts A Cheese-Rolling Competition
Each year, cheese lovers from around the world gather at Cooper's Hill, near Gloucester, England, to participate in a unique sporting event that leaves many bruised and battered. For the annual cheese-rolling event, groups of 25 men or women race down the steep, 656-foot hill to chase after a Gloucester cheese wheel weighing a little more than 7 pounds.
Though most begin the competition racing on their feet, the steep decline rarely allows any contestant to remain that way for long. Instead, they chaotically tumble down Cooper's Hill to capture their cheesy prize.
- 363 VOTES
Noche De Rábanos Is A Radish Carving Fest In Oaxaca
According to legend, radish carving has been a tradition in the Oaxaca, Mexico, area since as early as the 16th century. To encourage possible patrons to purchase produce from the local farmers, Spanish monks suggested carving their radishes into a variety of shapes. Many believe this practice began on December 23 as part of the community's Christmas celebrations.
In 1897, the mayor of Oaxaca, Francisco Vasconcelos Flores, introduced the tradition as a formal holiday, and it's been celebrated ever since. The modern interpretation of Noche de Rábanos has evolved greatly over the years. Contestants now display elaborately carved designs of massive radishes that are sometimes just under 2 feet long.
- 439 VOTES
The Thai Monkey Buffet Festival Has A Buffet FOR Monkeys, Not A Buffet Of Monkeys
Lopburi, Thailand's, annual Monkey Buffet Festival might be as odd as it sounds, but for an entirely different reason than the name implies. Instead of a festival filled with monkey dishes for humans to consume, it's a festival dedicated to spoiling the area's macaque population with a smorgasbord of fruit.
Legend holds that over 2,000 years ago, the monkey king Hanuman helped save a divine prince's wife from a demon. In return, the community celebrates the local macaques each year for the luck and prosperity they bring to the region. During the last Sunday of November, towers of fruits and vegetables are stacked for the monkeys to scale and feast on. Typical menu items include lettuce, pineapples, watermelons, and durians (a type of fruit). Overall, nearly 2 tons of food is offered for the apes.
As onlookers enjoy street entertainment, like people dancing dressed as monkeys, they also have the option to visit human-food vendors surrounding the monkey banquet tables.
- 563 VOTES
La Tomatina In Spain Is The World’s Largest Tomato Fight
Though no one really knows how La Tomatina got started, crowds have gathered in Buñol, Spain, to pummel each other with ripened tomatoes since 1945. Each year, around 20,000 festivalgoers pay roughly the equivalent of $11 (US) to participate in the massive food fight. (Those who wish to ride in the trucks carrying the tomatoes can pay around $826.)
La Tomatina begins with a giant ham hoisted into the air on a pole. At 9 am, participants scramble to be the first to knock the ham from its perch. The crowd rarely succeeds, but the result doesn't dictate a particular outcome. Either way, a cannon blast two hours later signifies to participants that it's time to get saucy.
Truckloads of over 120 tons of tomatoes are then dumped into the streets as the crowd rushes to grab their antioxidant-rich ammunition. Upon hearing a second cannon blast, participants end their tomato hurling to find the closest local willing to share their garden hose.
- 647 VOTES
The Blue Food Festival Uses ‘Blue’ Taro Root
During the Blue Food Festival held in Trinidad and Tobago, patrons experience an array of culinary treats infused with blue taro root (also called dasheen). From ice creams to liqueurs, this festival offers something for everyone. As foodies dine on local dasheen creations, they also have the opportunity to listen to reggae music and taste local rum.
The one-day event takes place each year in mid-October and has been a tradition since 1998.