Toss tunas, chuck oranges, and drench strangers with Rioja in the name of celebration!
Photo by: flydime
As broke-ass backpackers, we know a lot about throwing shit. When the party gets a little too wild, you throw up. When the going gets tough, you throw down, and when the time is right, you throw all your shit in a bag and hit the road. While food and music fests are great in their own right, we can't think of a better way to commemorate our penchant for throwing things than these rage-fueled festivals where the sole purpose is to launch as much shit at as many people as possible.
Photo by: JJ Harrison
Songkran is the traditional Thai New Year festival, and it takes place from April 13-15 every year. Thai people don't spend New Year's freezing their balls off with Ryan Seacrest, watching a stupid fucking ball drop. Their version takes place at the hottest time of the year, and to celebrate, they break out the super soakers have the world's biggest water fight. It may sound annoying to be blasted with water non-stop for two days, but when your skin is boiling in 100F-plus temperatures nothing could be more refreshing. To take a break amidst the watery onslaught, seek out a Thai elder who will smear your face with talc paste and give you a new year's blessing.
La Tomatina, Bunol, Spain
Photo by: Graham Mclellan
The Tomatina is the world's biggest food fight and one of the most famous festivals out there. Every year, tens of thousands flock to the tiny Spanish town of Bunol to release some pent-up aggression and watch the streets run red with bloody tomato pulp. The origins of this festival are a little unclear, but who cares? Throwing tomatoes is fucking fun, and festivalgoers can throw A LOT of tomatoes (about 40 tons!) The town supplies the tomatoes in giant dump trucks that pull into the city center, but make sure to bring your own goggles or you might end up painfully seeing red for the rest of the day.
Holi Festival of Colors
Photo by: Steven Gerner
The Holi Festival of Colors started in India, but has spread all over the world. It involves singing, dancing, and covering everyone from head to toe in brightly colored flour powder, in the name of love and peace. It sounds like lame hippie babble, but just looking at the pictures will make all five of your senses ache to be a part of this crazy beautiful mash-up of color, music and dance. Some Holi fests outside of India are starting to feature live DJs, which means you can get your aggressive shit-throwing with a side of all day, outdoor body paint dance party.
Carnivale D'Ivrea, Ivrea, Italy
Photo by: Sebastiano Rossi
In Italy, you don't need to attend a festival to get smacked by a projectile from the produce department. If your loud party is too obnoxious, your neighbors will let you know with their rotten vegetables. In fact, singing off key in a crowded piazza is probably enough to make you the target of a spare egg. But for the real gladiators of the grocery there is the Carnivale D'Ivrea. This is not a food fight, it's a food battle, and goddamn if it isn't brutal. Participants have to sign up beforehand to join a team, then they seek and destroy other teams by pelting them with whole oranges (think Call of Duty, but juicier.) Although it's a team sport, everyone in town is a potential target on the day of the orange death, but there is a way out: the rules say if you wear a red hat, you're officially off limits.
Tunarama, Port Lincoln, Australia
Photo by: MattDannatt86
Australians don't take shit from anyone, and they're sure as hell not going to let anyone slap them in the face with a wet fish. But if someone were to bet them how far they could throw said wet fish, well in that case what you get is a full-fledged festival of brine and brawn. The manliest Aussies step up every year to try their luck at the renowned tuna toss at the Tunarama festival in South Australia. The tradition started years ago when men only got work at the docks if they could throw a tuna from the boat into a truck, and when the tide went out, this wasn't so easy. After a long day, the burly Australians could always be found at the pub going on and on about the length of their pull. From this grew an official competition, and now whoever throws a 20 lb. tuna the farthest is crowned the World Champion Tuna Tosser and gets to brag about it to all the ladies.
Haro Wine Festival, La Rioja, Spain
Photo by: BigSus
The morning of June 29th, the day of Haro's patron saint San Pedro, starts peacefully. All the citizens dress in white and march solemnly to the cliffs of Bilibio carrying buckets and jugs of rich red wine. It is at the cliffs where they attend mass, and pay tribute to their celestial protectors. And then, in an instant, all the old church ladies turn into sorority chicks, the gnarled old men become the bros of their former selves, and the wine gets blasted all over, turning the religious calm into the greatest wet t-shirt party ever. The whole flock turns from white to deep purple in a flash, and everyone laughs and dances in a red sea of delicious booze. It may seem like a waste of La Rioja's vintage, but if you had more wine that you knew what to do with, it's hard to think of a better way to use it.
If target practice is your method of travel, make sure you do it right. Talk to locals to get the inside scoop on the do's and don'ts of each fest and make sure someone's got your back. If you're a lonely foreigner taking out bogeys with your expert aim, you could become an easy target for stealthy locals looking to smear an outsider.
Written by: Ben Gorman