When it comes to public holidays, Australia seems like it’s missing out a bit. After all, pretty much every holiday activity comes down to: have a barbie. Of course, so does pretty much every day that ends in ‘y’. But a quick look around the world reveals some of the craziness you can get up to, holidays that pack an element of danger to liven them up. After all, the worst you get in Australia is some singed eyebrows. Note: everyone knows about the bloody running of the bulls, so we’ll skip it, shall we?
Songkran – Thailand
Thai new year started out as a quiet, dignified event where small cups of water were respectfully poured on the shoulders of neighbours, family and buddhas. Then super soaker technology arrived in Southeast Asia and Songkran would never be the same. Now it’s a raucous, nation-wide waterfight complete with Thais by the ute-load chucking ice-cold water on anyone in sight, up to and including passing motorbike drivers doing 70 kph. Bring an underwater camera, you won’t want to miss this one.
Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling Contest – Gloucester, England
Ever had a real serious craving for a Babybel? How about one that weighs 350+ kilos? Sounds great, right? Now imagine chasing said cheesy comestible down a near vertical hill with dozens of other blokes hot at your heels. For two centuries the pommies have been doing just that every final Monday in May.
Beehive Rockets Festival – Yanshui, Taiwan
Shooting fireworks into the air is for wimps. In Taiwan they know that they best vantage point for a fireworks show is at the business end. At the end of Chinese New Year, the locals and visitors in this small farm town down protective gear that never fully works and are pelted with tiny rockets from 4 meter tall launching platforms.
There you have it. If self-preservation isn’t your thing, these three festivals might be.