Unique Spanish Festival Celebrates Near Death Experiences

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Did you manage to survive a near death experience during the past year? Well then, congratulation, you’ve earned the privilege of being placed in a coffin and paraded through the streets of Las Nieves, as part of a festival called La Fiesta de Santa Marta de Ribarteme.

The small town of Las Nieves is located in the isolated northwest part of Spain called Galicia, where pagan rites have been a part of local culture since anyone can remember. Although it has tried very hard over the centuries, the Catholic Church has never been able to fully integrate their teachings here, and witches or evil spirits still exist in people’s spiritual beliefs. La Fiesta de Santa Marta de Ribarteme is one of the Church’s attempts to adapt its dogma to the region’s more primitive beliefs, a sort of “Catholicism meets Paganism” type of event which has often been labeled as one of the most outrageous religious pilgrimages in the world. The unique event that takes place every year on July 29 celebrates those who have managed to cheat death in the previous 12 months by placing them in coffins and parading them through the town, and honors Saint Marta de Ribarteme, the patron of resurrection.


A Feast for Zombies: Gory Gourmet Food Truck Serves Fresh Brain Burgers

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London Chef Mark Jankel shocked everyone when he launched the Gory Gourmet, a special food truck that serves very literal brain food, including calf brain burgers, brain salad wrap or crispy chunks of brain.

Animal brain is a pretty common ingredient in the cuisine of many Asian countries, but in the Western world it has become somewhat of an oddity, with many referring to it as zombie food. Mark Jankel of Street Kitchen decided to use this fact as an opportunity to shock Londoners and create a very original publicity stunt. On August 22nd he launched his Gory Gourmet food truck, which treats Londoners to dishes made from calf brain, pig feet or cow thyroid. Although created to celebrate the DVD and BluRay release of zombie thriller series The Walking Dead Season 2, the Gory Gourmet was actually a culinary success, with dozens of curious clients lining up to taste the bizarre treats. I think it’s fair to say this particular food truck caters to the the taste of customers both alive and undead.


Teenager Sets New World Record at Mobile-Phone Throwing Contest

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Every year, the Finnish town of Savonlinna hosts a fun and relaxing phone-throwing contest where participants are invited to take out all their frustration on their handhelds by throwing them as far as possible. This year, a Finnish teenager managed to set a new world record, with a throw of over 101 meters.

Ever since 2000, when it was first organized, the Mobile Phone Throwing World Championship has become an international event drawing in participants from all over the world. According to reports of Finnish insurance companies, there are lots of phones laying on the bottom of Finland’s lakes, causing a serious environmental problem due to the toxicity of their batteries. In an attempt to convince people there are better ways of getting rid of their faulty mobile devices, a Savonlinna-based translation and interpretation company called Fennolingua organized a mobile-throwing contest that immediately drew the attention of media all around the world. In the following years, the event became even more popular gathering throwers from every continent eager to show their hurling skills.


Gotmar Mela – India’s Centuries-Old Stone Pelting War

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For over three hundred years, the residents of Pandhurna and Sawargaon, two Indian villages located on the banks of the river Jaam, have been engaging in a bizarre stone-pelting ritual called Gotmar Mela that leaves hundreds critically injured and even dead.

The stone war of Gotmar Mela, as its sometimes referred to, takes place every year, on the second day to “Bhadrapad’ (the new moon day). A tree trunk is fixed in the middle of Jaam River, and a flag tied on top of it. On the day of the bloody event, people from Pandhurna and Sawargaon gather on each of the river banks and arm themselves with stones. The bravest of them run towards the tree and try to climb high enough to grab the flag, while the mob on the other side tries to prevent them from doing so by showering them with large stones. The village who manages to snag the flag is declared winner. The rules of Gotmar Mela are pretty simple, but who ever takes part in it knows full well it might be the last thing they do, as hundreds are critically injured and even killed, each year.


Children Work Together to Build 1.8 Million LEGO Map of Future Japan

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To celebrate the 50th anniversary of LEGO blocks being introduced in Japan, the Danish company organized a cross-country workshop called “Build Up Japan” in which over 5,000 children created their visions of future Japanese buildings. The assembled pieces were all brought to Tokyo and assembled as a giant white map.

As Johnny from Spoon&Tamago noticed, the Internet is full of all kinds of massive LEGO works. We ourselves featured an impressive LEGO map of Middle-Earth, a LEGO football stadium model and even a full-size LEGO Ford Explorer. But the “Build Up Japan” event was special in more ways than one and definitely worth covering. While most large-scale works of art are usually created by experienced LEGO masters who spend years working on their pieces, this giant map was created piece by piece by around 5,000 Japanese children from six different regions of the island country. And, instead of having the kids just reproduce some of their country’s iconic buildings, organizers encouraged them to set free their imaginations and create imaginary structures of a futuristic Japan. The future of the country was literally in their hands and they made sure it was a bright one. When the assembled LEGO structures were completed, they were sent to Tokyo to be a part of a massive 1.8 million LEGO map that left the audience speechless.


Germany’s Trendiest People Converge on Berlin for the Hipster Olympics

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With the real Olympic Games about to start in London, Berlin’s self-proclaimed hipsters though they’d organize their own competition to find the most athletic hipster in Germany – the 2012 Hipster Olympics.

The tongue-in-cheek event took place last Saturday, and drew a crowd of over 6,000 hipsters to a club in east Berlin, for a series of nine ironic sporting events. Ironically, there were a lot of applicants who wanted to join the game, but a panel of hipster judges had the difficult task of choosing only 60.  “We had to select the coolest ones,” said 24 year-old Alexander Bernikas, head of the Original Hipster Olympics Committee. The skinny-jeans-wearing, jute-bag-carrying contestants were split into twelve teams of five, and pitted against each other in ironic events like a horn-rimmed-glasses-throwing contest,  a vinyl-spinning marathon or a skinny jeans tug of war.


Leg Humping Competition Celebrates Dogs’ Love for Our Legs

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Usually, when a dog starts humping your leg, you’re quick to make him stop, but at the Humpy Awards, owners actually encourage their pooches to get it on with their legs.

There’s the Grammys, the Emmys, the Webbies, and now we have the Humpys, which celebrate dogs’ natural behavior to hump your legs. This first ever annual humping competition for dogs was actually a viral marketing stunt for a new AMC reality show called Small Town Security, but that doesn’t in any way diminish the dogs’ admirable performances. Almost all of the canines brought forth into the humping arena did just what they were supposed to, impressing the judges with their techniques. I don’t know if they got any training prior to the competition, but it all seemed pretty natural to me.


Bovine Boarding at Pakistan’s Traditional Bull Races

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If you think surfing and snowboarding are extreme sports, then you’ve probably never seen what happens in Pakistan, during traditional bovine races. It involves bulls, a board and dirt.

Tens of thousands of people gather whenever there is a bull race held in Pakistan. They are usually the highlight of festivals organized in rural areas of the Asian country, and attract lots of spectators due to their thrilling nature. Watching a bunch of oxen running alongside each other might not be your idea of a fun time, but add a man on riding a board on a dirty track trying to guide the animals, and things become pretty exciting. The traditional competition  attracts landlords and farmers from all around the province where the race is held, and they all bring their fastest and strongest bulls in hopes of gaining a reputation.


Star Wars Fans Travel to Tatooine to Restore Luke Skywalker’s Home

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A group of dedicated Star Wars Fans took it upon themselves to travel to Tatooine and restore the Lars Homstead, the iconic igloo-shaped home Luke Skywalker grew up in.

It might sound like an impossible feat, but if you’re a true Star Wars fan, you know the scenes on the desert planet of Tatooine were actually filmed in the African country of Tunisia. Still, gathering the necessary resources and manpower necessary for such a journey is nothing short of impressive, and shows the kind of commitment some fans of the legendary franchise are capable of. The man behind this interesting restoration project is Belgian Star Wars enthusiast Mark Dermul. Back in 2001, Mark traveled to Tunisia to see for himself where his favorite movie was shot. Over the years, he went back there multiple times guiding over 50 other fans to the locations where the famous sci-fi saga was shot, but by 2010 he noticed the Lars Homstead was in a terrible state, so he decided to kick-start a restoration project.


It’s About Time! New York Hosts First World Burping Championship

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Most civilized countries have long considered burping one of the most embarrassing things a person can do in public. Now, the World Burping Federation, in Geneva, is trying to change people’s opinion, and their first attempt was the first edition of the Burping Championship.

Held in New York City, this first annual World Burping Championship had competitors guzzling down gallons of soda in order to produce the longest burp possible. The five contestants chosen to take part in this unusual event weren’t just regular beer-guzzlers who like to let loose a few burps every once in a while. They were all competitive eaters with Major League Eating which meant the whole contest a lot more interesting. Unlike regular burpers, these guys could fill their bellies with gallons of carbonated drinks, making them more qualified to produce a burp worthy of the record books.


Australian City to Host Real-Life Zombie First Person Shooter Game

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If you’ve ever dreamed of starring in your own zombie shooting video game, like Left4Dead or Resident Evil, your wish is about to come true as “Patient 0“, the world’s first “fully immersive live action real life, multiplayer, first person shooter, role-playing game” is about to take place in Melbourne, Australia.

It’s no secret that we’re living in a golden age of zombies. From movies to video games and even real life events, the undead are everywhere these days, so it came as no surprise when entrepreneurs started creating all kinds of events centered around the walking corpses. So far we’ve had a zombie training camp, zombie obstacle race and even a zombie-infested mall challenge, so it’s pretty clear this kind of event is becoming very popular. A group of enterprising young Australians has now decided to take things to a whole new level and announced they are working on a real-life first person shooter game for people who wish they could just get off the couch and play their favorite zombie shooter in real life.


Agni Keli – Unique Indian Tradition Encourages Fighting Fire with Fire

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Agni Keli, also known as the Fire Fight of Kateel Durga Parameswari Temple, in Mangalore, India, is a unique ritual which has hundreds of devotees throwing burning palm fronds at each other, to appease the Hindu goddess Durga.

Each year, the Festival of Kateel Durga Parameswari Temple is celebrated over 8 days, in the month of April. It commences on the night before Mesha Sankramana Day, and features a series of themed performances, the most intriguing of which is Agni Keli. On the second night of the festival, hundreds of devotees gather at the temple of Durga, in Mangalore, to carry out a centuries-old tradition that involves throwing and getting hit with burning palm fronds. The fiery action attracts thousands of spectators, who watch as the torch-wielding men try to set each other ablaze.

Photo: Daijiworld ..

Footbrawl – A Sport That Combines Football, Martial Arts, and Rugby

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Footbrawl is a controversial team sport invented during the late 1980s, in Australia, as a training aid for martial arts students. Despite violence concerns, footbrawl has been growing in popularity and may soon become an internationally played sport.

New Martial Arts Football, or Footbrawl, is a full contact sport in which participants have to fight to score and survive the game in one piece. As in many other sports around the world, the main goal of footbrawl is to get the ball into the net and score more points than the opposing team, only that’s not as easy as you might think. Combining elements of mixed martial arts, football, rugby and even ice hockey, footbrawl is a unique game that gives “footbrawlers the chance to let off some steam without any serious injuries, and offers spectators an unforgettable spectacle of non-stop thrilling action.


Test Your Middle Finger at the Bavarian Finger Wrestling Championship

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Finger wrestling, or “fingerhakeln”, used to be the way the men of Bavaria settled disputes back in the 17th century, but now it’s just an obscure sport that draws hundreds of strong men to the German region, for the annual Finger Wrestling Championship.

Now, I knew about thumb wrestling and toe wrestling, but I was totally oblivious to finger wrestling. That’s probably because it never caught on outside Bavaria, but the men there take it so seriously they even have a championship to determine which one has the strongest middle finger. The 35th edition of the annual Finger Wrestling Championship was held in Schnaitsee, Chiemgau, right in the heart of Bavaria, and brought together 156 competitors ready to snap their fingers for the title of champion.


Unique Animal Art at the Bikaner Camel Festival

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If you thought your hairstylist was amazing, wait until you see what living masterpieces these Indian camel enthusiasts can create with just scissors and a lot of patience.

Every year, the desert city of Bikaner, in India’s state of Rajasthan, hosts one of the most colorful events in the world – the Bikaner Camel Festival. Home to the only camel breeding farm in India, and one of the largest such farms in all of Asia, it’s only natural this city should have a festival dedicated to the useful humped animal. The popular event takes place over two days, in January, and draws in camel breeders from all over Rajasthan, as well as tourists from all around the world. This homage to camels includes various events, from camel races and rides, to camel haircut competitions and even a camel beauty pageant.


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