Humanity loves to celebrate. Sit us down, give us a beer and some food on someone else’s dime, and we are happy, happy campers. Festivals celebrate everything from fertility to surviving the winter to…well…as we’ll see here, pretty much anything.
La Tomatina is basically the biggest food fight you’ve ever conceived of. Hundreds of people scrambling, grappling and throwing tomatoes at each other. Why? Because why not? What else are they going to do with all those tomatoes? It also results in some awesome pictures of thousands of grown men pelting each other with squishy red fruit.
Most festivals have rioting as a side-effect, but the Italians have the right idea; center a festival around the riot, and just have it be a spectator sport. Calcio Storico is basically a sport, but it’s a sport designed to kill as many competitors as possible. It’s basically a group of grown men playing a cross between rugby and “Kill The Man With the Ball”, only more hostile and violent.
Every year, in Thailand, they come together and…feed monkeys. It sounds kind of ridiculous, although since somebody keeps feeding Gary Busey, we can’t really complain about the behavior of a bunch of hairy, savage primates running around. This is actually in honor of ancient legend, as a tribute to the Monkey King who helped out Rama, hero of the Ramayana. They lay out a few tons of food to feed the monkeys as a thank-you. And freeze bananas in ice, just to mess with them.
The residents of Oaxaca owe a lot to the humble, delicious radish. The radish has fed them, seen them through hard times, and is, like the people of Oaxaca, a hardy being that has weathered much hardship.
So in tribute, they carve figurines out of them two days before Christmas. Hey, we can’t throw stones here, we get crocked and try to pretend our relatives don’t exist on Christmas.
Tunarama celebrates that fish that you eat in oil or water, that humble, yet tasty creature of the sea, the giant squid. What, what? You mean they just throw around a fish and stuff? Where’s the fun in that?
If you’d like to see a grown man huck a fish, which is boring, instead of a squid, which is awesome, then come on down to Australia. This also celebrates the departure of the fishing fleet, so that’s nice. We bet they love seeing their hard work thrown around like a shotput.
With an image like that, you know two things: one, that this is going to be good, and two, that this is going to be Japanese. And you’d be right on both counts. Welcome to the Bean-Throwing Festival.
The idea is to throw soybeans out the door to throw out demons. You can also throw soybeans at people, as a joke. Somebody needs to introduce the Japanese to La Tomatina. We bet they could do a lot with that, and some of it might not give us nightmares.