The Weirdest National Holidays

La Tomatina in full swing

You are probably so used to it, so it no longer seems strange. Which is probably the explanation for some of these other holiday traditions from around the world. Hey, don’t judge. It just seems as normal to them as Christmas does to those who are used to the idea of a house-invading fat guy in a red suit.

Nyepi Day

In Bali, Nyepi Day is a holiday that occurs to celebrate the Lunar New Year. The celebration involves participants switching off all electronic devices, including televisions, radios and even lights. They then sit and reflect on their life, in total silence, until morning.

Although it seems slightly sinister that authorities patrol the streets to ensure that total silence is kept, and rules are not broken, this holiday, frankly, sounds amazing to us. Ever have that feeling of being weirdly light and relieved when your phone runs out of battery, and you know you won’t be able to check messages for a few hours? This is an entire holiday dedicated to that feeling, basically.

Setsubun

Setsubun demon costume
Source: Sharing Kyoto

In Japan, Setsubun involves having a family member dress up as a demon and pelting them with special beans. The holiday occurs on the first day of spring, and the demon pelting ritual symbolises casting bad luck from the New Year, and welcoming in only good luck in its place. If you’re in Japan around this time it might be a good idea to partake in this holiday tradition so that when you play Blackjack online, Lady Luck smiles down on you too!

Beer Day

As far as we’re concerned, this one seems like just a very crafty way in which Icelandic residents found a way to drink all day, and call it a holiday tradition. Smart. The 1st day of March sees many head to the local pubs and raise their glasses in celebration of Viking legends Dimmur, Thule, or Litli-Jón. We suspect the hangovers must likewise be legendary.

Wave All Your Fingers at Your Neighbour Day

This one is curious on a number of levels. The literally titled “wave all your fingers at your neighbour day” is held on February 7th, and involves folks simply waving at one another. That’s it. Although we found a few mentions of this holiday upon researching it, there seems to be very little mention of where it originated, who might celebrate it, or any other information. Mysterious. Best wave all your fingers at your neighbour on February 7th, just in case you’re the only one who doesn’t do it, and you look silly!

Night of the Radishes

Amazing Night of The Radishes carving
Source: CNN

It sounds like an extremely b-grade horror film, but is actually a festival held in Oaxaca, Mexico on December 23rd. The holiday involves contestants carving astonishingly elaborate figures out of radishes, with many depicting the birth of Christ, but other interesting historical scenes are also acceptable, or just generally impressive spectacles. Simply put; you won’t believe what some creative folks are capable of making out of radishes. Seriously, Google it.

La Tomatina

Lastly we have the relatively well-known La Tomatina festival that occurs in Spain on the last Wednesday of August. Trucks dump tens of thousands, possibly even hundreds of thousands, of tomatoes onto the streets. After which around 30,000 gatherers throw the tomatoes at one another for an hour and a half. Why? Well, perhaps the most interesting thing about the festival is that no one really knows. There are vague suggestions that it is linked to some or other anti-religious protest back in the 1940s, but no one really cares anymore. It’s just a fun holiday!