11 Mind-Blowing Religious Festivals Around the World

Religious festivals around the world can be pretty mind-blowing. While we might be used to the usual holidays and celebrations, some cultures take things to a new level. It’s amazing to see how people express their beliefs in such unique and sometimes crazy ways.

Here are the 11 of the most unusual religious festivals on the planet you may not know.

Holi (India)

Image Credit: ChandraK Pradhan from Pixabay

Holi is a colorful Hindu festival celebrated in India. People throw bright powders and water at each other in the streets. It’s all about welcoming spring and celebrating good over evil. The festival turns entire towns into a rainbow of colors and laughter.

Thaipusam (Malaysia and Singapore)

Image Credit: Dean Moriarty from Pixabay

Thaipusam is a Hindu festival that involves some pretty intense body piercings. Devotees carry heavy structures called kavadis attached to their bodies with hooks and skewers. They believe this shows their devotion and gratitude to their gods. It’s a test of faith and endurance that’s both fascinating and a bit scary to watch.

Cheung Chau Bun Festival (Hong Kong)

Image Credit: jorono from Pixabay

This festival features a tower made entirely of steamed buns. People climb the tower to grab buns for good luck. The festival also has parades with kids dressed as gods floating above the crowd. It’s a quirky mix of tradition, acrobatics, and tasty treats.

La Tomatina (Spain)

Image from M W from Pixabay

While not strictly religious, this festival has roots in honoring the town’s patron saints. People throw tons of tomatoes at each other in a massive food fight. The streets turn red with tomato juice for hours. It’s messy, chaotic, and incredibly fun for those who join in.

Naga Panchami (India and Nepal)

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This Hindu festival is all about worshipping snakes. People pour milk over snake statues and some even invite live cobras into their homes. They believe snakes are divine and offering them milk brings good luck. It’s a day when fear of snakes turns into reverence.

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Takanakuy (Peru)

Imagre Credit: Ulises Casaraz from Pixabay

Takanakuy is a Christmas Day tradition where people settle disputes through fistfights. Participants dress up in colorful outfits and masks before the fights. The community watches as a way to resolve conflicts and start the new year fresh. It’s a mix of violence and celebration that’s pretty unique.

Whirling Dervishes Festival (Turkey)

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This Sufi Muslim festival features dancers who spin in circles for hours. They believe the spinning brings them closer to God. The dancers wear long white robes that float as they twirl. It’s a mesmerizing sight that looks almost like magic.

Timkat (Ethiopia)

Image Credit: jorono from Pixabay

Timkat is an Orthodox Christian festival celebrating Jesus’s baptism. It involves a massive water fight, during which priests sprinkle holy water on the crowd. People also jump into pools and fountains to renew their baptismal vows. It’s a joyous and wet celebration of faith.

Fire Walking Festival (Japan)

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During this Shinto festival, people walk barefoot over hot coals. They believe it purifies them and brings good luck. Some even carry children across the burning embers. It’s a test of faith and bravery that’s both scary and impressive to watch.

Monkey Buffet Festival (Thailand)

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This festival involves setting out a huge feast for monkeys. It’s believed to bring good luck to the town and honor a monkey god. Locals prepare fruits, vegetables, and even ice cream for the monkeys. It’s a strange and fun sight to see monkeys enjoying a lavish banquet.

Up Helly Aa (Scotland)

Image Credit: Garvit Nama from Unsplash

This Viking-inspired festival ends with burning a full-size replica Viking ship. People dress up as Vikings and carry torches through town. The festival honors the influence of Viking culture on the Shetland Islands. It’s a fiery and dramatic celebration that lights up the winter night.

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Mary Apurong

Mary Apurong is an experienced editor and ghostwriter who enjoys writing and reading. She loves researching topics related to life and creating content on quotes, gardening, food, travel, crafts, and DIY. Mary spends her free time doing digital art and watching documentaries.

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