A freelance writer and bargain hunter with wanderlust, recently moved to Perth from Brisbane.
Published December 15th 2013
Not for the clean freaks
Remember when you used to play around outside in the mud when you were younger? But somehow you almost always got into trouble for it? And then when you grew old enough to make your own decisions, rolling around in mud came with the risk that everyone else would look at you strangely. What about food fights where everyone gets dirty and messy but which largely ends in people laughing and having a good time?
If rolling around in the mud or throwing food around in a socially acceptable manner is your idea of fun, group events held worldwide may be just your thing. Even better, you will be surrounded by hundreds of other like-minded people cheerfully getting down and dirty and having a good time. Messy festivals are held around the world, most with different reasons and purpose but with the same result – allowing you to get down and dirty. See below for some of the messy events you can take part in.
Not just any ordinary mud, the mud used in the Boryeong Mud Festival from its mud flats are believed to have health properties due to its mineral goodness. A mud experience land is set up in the Dacheon beach area in July. Around 2.2 million visitors are usually present at the festival so you will be surrounded by lots of mud-lovers keen to challenge you in a game of mud prison or mud skiing. You will be entertained by live music while you wade in the mud pools and try your hand at the mud slides.
If you hate eating tomatoes, you can have your revenge in Valencia where thousands of visitors swoop into the town in August to throw tomatoes at strangers and friends. Held on the last Wednesday of August each year in the town of Bunol near Valencia in Spain, rest assured that you will be covered head to toe in red by over-riped tomatoes. Participation is limited to 20,000 people and everyone breaks loose at around 11am when the signal for the beginning of the fight is given through firing of water cannons. The fighting ends after one hour after which everyone has satisfactorily let our their anger on unsuspecting and willing strangers. Definitely a fun way to cure your anger management issues!
3) Battle of the Oranges, Italy
Gabriele F pic wikimedia
In the Northern Italian city of Ivrea, the town is painted in orange during the largest food fight in Italy, a recreation of a historic fight between the townspeople and their oppressive ruler. The fight is a bit more organised than La Tomatina in Valencia with townspeople divided into nine combat teams in February. Around 500,000 kilograms of oranges are sacrificed during the festival and you can participate as a foreigner but you will need to pay a fee. Remember that orange fights can be vicious and that the juice stings if you have cuts anywhere on your body.
4) Holi in India
A festival awash with colour, Holi commemorates the victory of good over evil. Central to the festival is Lord Krishna, a reincarnation of Lord Vishnu the Hindu god of preservation. Lord Krishna liked to play pranks on the girls in the village by drenching them in water and a multitude of colours, hence the celebration with coloured powder amongst devotees. Holi is usually celebrated the day after the full moon in March each year and is celebrated in most areas of India. Join in the celebrations as they throw parties and smear coloured powder over each others' faces, getting wet and dirty in the process. People usually rub coconut oil onto their skin beforehand to prevent the colour from absorbing.
5) Els Enfarinats, Ibi, Spain
Els Enfarinats is a festival celebrated with flour, taking place in the town of Ibi in Alicante, Spain in December. Participants dress in mock military dress and stage a mock rebellion where they try to take over the town and decide who the new mayor would be. The participants known as Els Enfarinats then exercise their authority with flour bombs and eggs, making for an incredibly messy day. Their opposing party who try to restore order fight back with equally messy weapons, making for an interesting and unusual 200 year old tradition.