Kill the tomato
Eleven in the morning. From the city hall the firecracker starts. On the streets enter trucks loaded to the top with tons of ripe tomatoes. Residents of the Spanish Bunyol race to the scattered red “ammunition” in order to start one of them in the neighbor. The long-awaited Tomatina begins – a two-hour battle that turns the town together with its inhabitants into a tomato mash. The task of the participants is to run under the hail of tomatoes and shoot them with anyone who gets caught in the eyes. For the time of the battle, the owners of restaurants and cafes close their establishments and install protective plastic panels on the doors and windows. Residents and tourists (even those who do not participate in battles) leave the house in the oldest clothes: it is impossible to get dirty on this day, even if you do not go to the city center.
The first “Tomatina” happened in 1945, when the Bunolians peacefully celebrated the end of the summer. Suddenly a group of merry friends overturned another’s truck with the driver. After getting out of the wagon, the man attacked the abusers, and a fight ensued. The case took place near the rows with vegetables: tomatoes were used immediately. The fighters were separated, the shopkeepers received compensation for the spoiled products, and a year later the friends came to the same place with their tomatoes to repeat the battle for the sake of a joke. Despite the authorities’ bans, every year more and more residents of Bunyol took part in tomato skirmishes. By 1950, the police surrendered and stopped interfering with the battles.
Nowadays, the celebration of Tomatina takes place at the end of August (in August 2018 – August 29) in Bunyola and ends with a general bath in the pool with tomato juice.
Become a pig
In the early August morning, a Frenchman dressed as a pig appears on the impromptu rural scene, lies down on the floor, unbuttons his belly and takes out a toy piglet. All this is accompanied by howls that the animals publish during childbirth. The jury sternly looks at the participant’s attire, his acting skills and his height. This strange action is only part of the La Pourcailhade festival in the municipality of Tri-sur-Baise in France.
Participants compete in three kinds of competitions: the best costume, the best Cri do Cochon (“scream of a pig”) and the pig run. During the first one, people dress up in the most sophisticated ways to look like pigs. In the second competition they rise to the stage and reproduce all kinds of sounds produced by pigs in different periods of life: from mating to childbirth. In the third, most, perhaps, innocent, little piglets race on the treadmills. After the competition, the carefree French dance, sing, drink and just enjoy life in pink suits.
The first festival of pigs was held in 1975 by La Confrérie du Cochon (“The Brotherhood of Pigs”). His celebration was temporarily suspended, but on August 12, 2018, anyone who wishes can visit the match again.
Rise from the dead
On July Day at 10 am, a crowd of Spaniards in black robes gathers near the Catholic Church of San Jose. They have sorrow on their faces, and handkerchiefs in their hands. All the townspeople froze in anticipation of a funeral procession. Finally, coffins are taken out from around the corner. But instead of dead there live people. The crowd rejoices, the mournful mood gives way to smiles, handkerchiefs are thrown into the air.
The main heroes of the festival St. Martha in the Galicia region are lucky ones who were on the verge of death, but managed to survive. Everyone who has suffered a fatal illness or an accident: an accident, fell from a rock or almost choked into the sea lies in the coffin. So the Spaniards, who over the past 12 months have managed to outwit death itself, thank the fate and the gods for a second chance.
By noon, a mourning cortege led by the figure of St. Martha, which Jesus raised from the dead, reaches the building of a tiny church, and the deceased impostors are solemnly brought inside. The festive mass begins. After the service, the figure is taken to the cemetery, and the crowd is celebrated: the survivors tell stories about miraculous salvation, roll in coffins, drink wine, dance and fireworks. In general, all their appearance is shown to death, that their time has not yet come. In Spanish, the festival of the living dead is called the Fiesta de Santa Marta de Ribarteme and is taking place on July 29 in As-Neves.
Grappling with soles
A lot of fun in the usual ways, guests of one of the bars of Derbyshire English decided to entertain in a new way: men arranged for wrestling. But it was only in this wrestling that the feet went to work. Under the laughter of the cheering fans strongmen clasped their feet to measure the strength of the leg muscles.
The competition was so inspiring to the participants that they even tried to include it in the program of the Olympic Games. Despite the fact that the application was rejected, the World Toe Wrestling Championship became an annual competition and is held in Ashbourne, United Kingdom. This year, the battle will be held on June 22 at seven in the evening.
The rules of foot wrestling are simple. Before the start of the battle, participants are stripped off, and the wrestlers take off their shoes and socks as a sign of respect. Then, tightly wrapped around the feet and weaving the fingers in a certain way, the contestants begin the fight. One of them should knock the other’s foot on the floor and hold it in this position for three seconds. The fight takes place in three stages: in the first and last plays the right foot, and in the second – the left one. The winner is the one who won in two circles of three.
Cigarette through the baby
In the Spanish village of Castrillo de Murcia, whose population is only 500 inhabitants, believing parents have chosen a very unusual way of baptizing their newborns. Festively dressed babies, who were born in the last year, are laid out in rows on mattresses right in the middle of the street. They are crowded with a crowd of men dressed in devils in red and yellow suits and fashionable sneakers. They swing their whips and shiver at the feet of all who, in their opinion, are not sufficiently righteous. Having reached the goal, the “devils” jump over the babies, thereby purifying them of original sin.
Jumping through children, or El Salto del Colacho, is held annually since 1620. The Catholic Church has been fighting for many years with the ritual organizers, but all efforts have been unsuccessful: villagers not only keep their tradition, but every year they come up with new activities. Today El Salto del Colacho has turned into a whole festival. This year the “Devil’s Jump” will be held on June 3 from 6 to 8 pm and will continue with folk festivals with wine, music and dances. According to local residents, not a single child has ever been hurt.
Take advantage of another’s wife
On a sunny July afternoon, the Finnish town of Sonkajärvi is flooded with crowds of smart couples. Under the applause of the crowd, men take their ladies in their arms. The championship begins on the wearing of wives. The rules here are as simple as possible: you take your wife, your neighbor, or your neighbor, throw it on your shoulder and run through all sorts of obstacles to the finish.
The lady can be dragged on herself in several ways, but one of the most popular is the Estonian, when her legs are upstairs, and her head hangs down. In addition, weigh the chosen one should not be less than 49 kilograms, otherwise strict judges will hang a backpack with extra weight on top. By the way, kilograms play an important role in the awards ceremony, because the main prize is beer: the winner gets it as much as the partner weighs.
Legend has it that for the first time the custom of wearing wives appeared in Finland at the end of the 19th century. Allegedly, he was a thief named Ravo-Ronkainen, who robbed villages with his fellow tribesmen. But they carried away not only riches, but also foreign wives in addition. They say that robbers forcibly married poor women. Fortunately, modern competitions for wearing wives are completely harmless: I dragged someone else’s wife for profit and returned. The Finns themselves call the championship Eukonkanto and spend it every summer since 1992. In 2018 the games will start on July 6 at 7 am and end at 10 pm.
Soak in wine
The column of dressed in snow-white clothes appears at 7 am on the street of the Spanish town and begins to move towards the rocks – to pray. In the hands of those who go – all kinds of vessels filled to the brim with red wine. At the head of the procession – the mayor of the city. After reaching the place – the rocks of Bilibio, seven kilometers from the Spanish city of Aro – the participants of the wine festival Batalla de Vino serve as a solemn mass in honor of their patron Saint of San Pedro, after which the general merriment starts. For several hours in a row people are pouring on each other tens of thousands of liters of local red rhyoche. Clothes and shoes are drenched with wine, but everyone is happy. When the Spaniards get tired of the wine battle, they settle around specially kindled campfires and enjoy tapas snacks, washing them down with the same rioha.
By noon, everyone leaves the battlefield and returns to Aro, where a holiday, accompanied by a corrida in the city arena, continues already on the Plaza de la Paz. It is believed that the Batalla de Vino arose because of the dispute between Aro and the neighboring Miranda de Ebro over the affiliation of the mountain located between the towns. The wine battle takes place every year on St. Peter’s Day – June 29.
Breaking bones for cheese
Since the morning on the top of the British hill Cooper crowded with excited people with a head of cheese in their hands – one at all. After a few moments, the start signal will thunder, and they all roll together from the mountain, wringing their arms, legs and necks. This is how the severe Cuperschild cheese race looks like – part of the annual spring holiday, which the British have spent more than 200 years. According to one version, an amusing competition appeared due to the pagan rite in honor of the coming of spring. Only earlier instead of cheese from the mountain they threw burning bundles of brushwood.
The winner is the one who will first cross the finish line and grab the head of the Gloucester cheese (Gloucester is a traditional English grade semi-solid cheese from unpasteurized milk). She gets it as a prize.
At the foot of the Cooper hill, an ambulance crew is always on duty: every year dozens of participants and spectators cripple at the festival. However, the injuries of the English do not stop. The maximum they agreed to was a slight softening of the rules: before the cheese head weighed 18 kilograms, and now only five. The competition is called Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling and is held annually on the last Monday in May near the English city of Gloucester.