Festivals, a living, dancing mélange of traditions and culture in an increasingly connected and globalised world is the best way of getting in touch with the local populace of a country and understanding how it celebrates its individuality. Regardless of whether you would like to steep your senses in the delights of camel races, musical performances or monumental food fights; you will surely enjoy the ambience created by festivals celebrated with great enjoyment and fervor -all across the world.
Read on for a quick peep into some of the most popular festivities for July.
Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling
Celebrated at: Kirkpinar, Edirne, Turkey
When : Late June or early July
In the early days of the eras gone by, during the reign of the popular Ottoman Empire, Süleyman Pasa– the military commander, would allow his soldiers to unwind between warfare by indulging in some wrestling sessions. As per legendary tales, on such particular occasion, more than 40 men had scuffled at once. It is said that two of the fiercest fighters grappled past midnight and then dropped dead with sheer exhaustion. Ever since Turks and tourists love to enjoy the fun of wrestling at Kirkpinar, Edirne in the month of July–be there if you like to see heavyweight participants battle in out. (image by Cemil)
Fiesta de San Fermin (The Running of Bulls)
Celebrated at: Plaza de Toros in Pamplona, Navarra, Spain
When : 2nd week of July
Greatly romanticized by Ernest Hemingway; Running of the Bulls (celebrated by excited participants of all ages and from all walks of life in Pamplona) is a pompous and unbridled outpouring of passion that can be found pumping deep through the Spanish character. As an integral part of the festival dedicated to San Fermin-the town’s patron saint, the occasion witnesses hundreds of ‘runners’ sprinting along 800m of track-right in front of raging bulls! Though controversial in nature and certainly not for the faint hearted, this interesting festival has been under the scanner of the World Society for the Protection of Animals and Asociación Defensa Derechos Anima alike -for ending the not-so-friendly act of bullfighting
Rath Yatra (The Festival of Chariots)
Celebrated at : Bada Danda at Puri in Orissa, India
When : Late July
With the monsoons in full swing, waters of the ocean raging than ever before and lush greens all around ; The Hindus in India make a beeline for Puri’s main drag at the crowded Bada Danda to honor the deity Lord Jagannath. The festival has attracted tourist and participants across centuries and showcases a giant chariot pulled by devotees, an ornately adorned idol of Lord Krishna gracing its top and millions of revelers thronging all around. Along with the idol of God Jagannath, his sister Subhadra and brother Balabhadra also add to the glory of the event -a must see for one and all.(image by Amit Kashyap)
Wife-Carrying World Championships
Celebrate at: Market Square, Sonkajärvi, Finland
When : first Saturday in July
This bizarre festival has been running since 1992 and has its origin in the less humorous customary tradition of pillaging neighboring villages for womenfolk. It is said that a 19th-century brigand referred to as Ronkainen was quite keen on the practice. In contemporary times, aspiring Ronkainens are quite disappointed to explore that they are not permitted to keep their partner after the culmination of the ceremony –unless she is she happens to be the participant’s their wife, of course.
Camel Cup, celebrated in Alice Springs, Australia and Naadam at Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia are some of the other interesting festivals worth experiencing. Enjoy!
Feature image Tammy Hineline