Men Shower Themselves with Molten Iron During Fiery Chinese Celebration

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Every year, during the Lantern Festival, the Chinese village of Nuanquan hosts one of the most spectacular pyrotechnics show in the world. Called Da Shuhua (Chinese for “tree flower) the tradition involves experienced blacksmiths showering themselves with molten iron.

Da Shuhua is believed to have originated over 300 years ago, when local blacksmiths came up with a unique alternative to fireworks. The rich would always celebrate New Year with fire crackers, but poor blacksmiths could not afford them, so they had to rely on their to find a cheaper alternative. Inspired by iron striking, the blacksmiths started melting iron at temperatures of around 1,000 degrees Celsius and throwing it at a large stone wall to create an effect similar to fireworks. In contact with the cold stone, the splashed molten iron would generate beautiful iron flowers that rained down on the brave blacksmiths.

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Pop-Up IKEA Cafe Serves Breakfast in Bed

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IKEA has been selling food and furniture for years, but they recently managed to marry the two with a pop-up restaurant called ‘The IKEA Breakfast in Bed Cafe’. The uniquely themed eatery was furnished with luxurious beds instead of the traditional chair and table setup. Visitors were shown to their beds, from where they could order food and drinks, get expert advice from sleep specialists, and even take naps!

Located on Leonard Street in London’s hipster hub Shoreditch, the pop-up was open between 7am and 3pm, until May 20. Patrons chose between single and double beds, kicked up their heels, and relaxed, while being served by specially trained waiting staff. The menu included classic British breakfast food like salmon, toast, fresh juice, and sleep inducing teas, along with traditional Swedish breakfast options.

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Chinese Boss Takes 6,400 Employees on Holiday to France, Books Hundreds of Hotels

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A Chinese billionaire has made a serious claim for the title of best boss ever, after taking half of his employees – over 6,400 people – on an all-expenses-paid nine-day holiday to France, to celebrate his company’s 20th anniversary. The epic trip is expected to cost a whopping 33 million euros, of which 13 million will be spent in Paris, and 20 million in Nice.

Li Jinyuan, the chairman of Tiens Group Company, booked rooms in 140 three, four, and five-star hotels in Paris for 6,400 employees, and made reservations at some of the most popular attractions, including The Louvre museum. The huge group, consisting of Chinese, Russian, and Kenyan employees, has also traveled to the breathtaking French Riviera, where Li Jinyuan booked a whopping 4,760 rooms in 79 hotels in Cannes and Monaco.

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Medieval Fighting Meets MMA in Russia’s Newest Combat Sport

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While Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) matches generally incorporate striking and grappling techniques from a variety of other combat sports and martial arts, the use of medieval fighting techniques is unheard of. Until now, that is. St. Petersburg based MMA promotion M-1 Global plans to introduce a new kind of MMA events featuring sword-wielding knights in armor, called M-1 Medieval.

It all started when M-1 had the brilliant idea of staging medieval sword fights as filler during MMA events last year. The response was so phenomenal that they decided to make this unique form of mixed martial arts a permanent fixture. The first official M-1 Medieval division fight took place on April 10 in Moscow. “I liked the fans’ reaction when we did it for the first time in St. Petersburg at M-1 Challenge 50,” said M-1 president Vadim Finkelchtein. “They seemed to really like it. They were impressed and supported the knights. So, I thought it was worth continuing.”

“At the time, the knight-fight was to fill the pause between the undercard and main card fights,” he added. “If we find enough fighters to make enough fights, we will have a separate medieval show with its own weight categories, title fights and champions.”

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The Endurance Race So Hard That Only 14 People Have Completed It in 30 Years

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The Barkley 100-Mile Marathon, held annually in Frozen Head State Park near Wartburg, Tennessee, is considered to be one of most challenging ultra-marathons in the world. So tough, in fact, that only 14 people out of about 1,100 participants have ever managed to complete it since its inauguration in 1986! That’s just two more than the number of people who have walked on the moon.

The 100-mile run, which some claim is actually 130 miles or more, has a cumulative elevation gain of more than 60,000 feet – the equivalent of climbing mount Everest twice, from sea level. It consists of a 20-mile loop around a mountainous course that participants need to complete five times. Loops three and four need to be run in the opposite direction, with the direction for loop five being the runner’s choice. Experienced runners looking for something less extreme can opt for the 60-mile ‘fun run’, where they have to run the 20-mile loop just three times.

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Teapot Racing – The New Favorite Sport of New Zealand’s Steampunk Community

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Last weekend, New Zealand’s capital hosted its first ever teapot racing event at CubaDupa – Wellington’s vibrant new street festival modeled on the lines of Cuba Street. The sport, a new favorite among Steampunk enthusiasts, involves navigating radio-controlled teapots through an obstacle course with tunnels, ramps and jumps.

Organised by Capital! Steampunk, a Steampunk events community in New Zealand, Splendid Teapot Racing saw radio-controlled cars carry teapots through the indoor obstacle course in under two minutes. Steampunk enthusiasts interested in participating had to register in advance, and according to festival co-ordinator Helen Jansen, the level of interest and curiosity in the race was quite high. “This event has pre-sold more tickets than any other so far,” she said. “This is a first in the steampunk world and a great addition to the Southern hemisphere’s premier steampunk event.”

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Disco Shopping in Amsterdam – Dutch Group Turns Supermarkets into Discos

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Shopping for groceries can be dreary, but a group of Dutch entrepreneurs is trying to change that. They’ve come up with a unique concept called ‘Disco Boodschappen’ (Disco Shopping) which basically involves throwing a disco dance party at an otherwise boring supermarket.

The organisers said they came up with the plan after they saw a tweet with a similar idea. “A friend of mine posted a tweet with a picture of a note from a supermarket where a student is proposing an hour of disco shopping,” said entrepreneur Joost Aarsten. “I thought, ‘Wow, we gotta do that!’”

So he got together with a few friends to formulate a simple event that would make shopping for food seem like a celebration. With a high quality sound system, a few decorations, and a DJ, they plan to convert the most mundane supermarkets into a hip place for a few hours.

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Canadian Hot Springs Resort Holds Awesome Hair Freezing Contest

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Canada’s Yukon territory is well-known for its wide range of cultural and sporting events that attract tourists from all over the world. Perhaps the most bizarre of these events is the International Hair Freezing contest, held at Takhini Hot Springs every year, in February. As the name suggests, the contest has people enter the springs and just wait for the cold air to freeze their wet hair!

In order to win the $150 prize, all contestants need to do is sink their heads in the hot springs that are at 40 C, and then wait  for the freezing outside air to fix their crazy hairdos in place. At temperatures of under -30 C, hair can freeze in under 60 seconds, creating a stunning effect.

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Buying Love at Bulgaria’s Roma Bridal Market

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The Romani people, who constitute one of Bulgaria’s largest ethnic minorities, have a unique marriage tradition – a ‘bride market’. Held four times a year on various religious holidays, the market is a chance for poor families in the community to arrange financially beneficial marriages for their children.

The families that gather in the city of Stara Zagora for the festival are part of a gypsy community of 18,000 Roma known as Kalaidzhi. They are traditionally coppersmiths, and among the most poverty-stricken people in the nation. The bride market is a chance for these families to get together, catch up on gossip, and arrange matches for their adolescent children. The event is a colorful one, with grannies dressed in traditional Kalaydzhii long skirts, and children running about and eating candyfloss.

The prospective brides are usually dressed provocatively in mini skirts, with gobs of mascara, flashy jewellery and towering heels. They dance alongside their male suitors on car hoods, which is quite rare in a community that generally does not allow youths to mingle with the opposite sex. In fact, the Kalaidzhi, who are devout Christians, take girls out of school at age 15 to keep them away from temptation.

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Beware the Shadows, Ninja Day Is Coming!

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If you happen to be in Japan this Sunday, chances are you’ll be seeing a lot more ninjas than usual. That’s because February 22nd is National Ninja Day in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Although not yet an official holiday, Ninja Day has been getting a lot of media attention in Japan, ever since the cities of Iga and Koka started organizing ninja-themed events to boost tourism. Both historical ninja strongholds, they feature a variety of themed attractions, like ninja villages and schools, but authorities go all out on Ninja Day, to really bring out the spirit of the skilled assassins that once thrived there.

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Humane Bullfighting in Costa Rica – No one Can Hurt the Bull but the Bull Can Kill Anyone

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While the bullfights of Spain and Mexico generally don’t end well for the bull, Costa Ricans prefer to do things differently. Since cattle are revered as a source of income for thousands of farming families in the nation, they don’t consider it practical to kill bulls for sport. Although bullfights are a main event at Zapote – the annual Costa Rican bull festival – the bulls always leave the arena unscathed.

Corridas de toros (bullfights) are held all through the year in Costa Rica, but Zapote’s is considered to be the country’s grandest event. At the end of each year, cattle farmers from all over the nation haul their bulls and gather at the capital, for the much-awaited celebration. And instead of glorifying man’s power over the beast, the bullfights during Zapote celebrate bulls. The animals are never to be killed, only dodged.

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This College of Wizardry in Poland is as Close to Hogwarts as You’ll Ever Get

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The College of Wizardry, a recent event organised by Denmark’s Rollespils Fabrikken and Poland’s LARPing communities, gave Potterheads the opportunity to experience the world of Harry Potter by actually being a part of it. This, they claimed, was a whole lot more fulfilling and exciting than visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park, in Orlando.

Through the event, they brought Potterheads from 11 different countries together to celebrate their love of the wizarding world. Close to 200 live-action role players (LARPers) participated in the first session of the fictional Czocha College of Witchcraft and Wizardry – it was the largest and most intricate J.K. Rowling-themed LARP adventure in history. The LARPers played the role of teachers, students and other characters from Hogwarts.

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Rototiller Racing – A Rural Motorsport Like No Other

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Tilling a field is hard work, so it’s hard to believe that there are people who actually do it for sport. However, rototiller racing is actually a thing!  The world championship is held every year during the PurpleHull Pea festival in Emerson, Arkansas, where the world’s fastest garden tillers get together to compete for the highly coveted $500 prize.

“There is simply no other event like it,” the PurpleHull website declares. “Unique among motorsports, we like to say it is the highlight of the tiller racing season. ‘Course, to the best of our knowledge, our one-day event is the tiller racing season. Souped-up garden tillers from near and far come to compete in the world’s premier tiller racing event.”

The race begins with one competitor (a.k.a tiller pilot) per lane (200-feet-long), with the referees waiting at the finish line with their eyes on stopwatches. When the starter waves the flag, the racers are off, kicking up a huge cloud of dirt as they go. The fastest tiller is declared the winner.

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This Artist Is Literally Looking for a Needle in a Haystack

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Italian performance artist Sven Sachsalber is basing his latest work on an age old figure of speech. He’s going spend two whole days looking for a needle in a haystack. Well, people have been talking about it for so long, I say it’s about time someone actually gave it a try!

For two days this week – Thursday and Friday – 27-year-old Sven will be combing a stack of hay in search of that elusive pre-inserted needle, at Palais de Tokyo, a contemporary art gallery in Paris.

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Woodkopf – The Wacky Czech Sport You’ve Probably Never Heard of Before

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Woodkopf is a crazy new sport invented in the Czech Republic that’s been gaining quite a lot of national media attention lately. The popular sport involves a pair of opponents wearing two-meter wooden boards on their heads and trying to knock the other’s board down without dropping their own. As strange as it sounds, a rousing match of Woodkopf can be quite exciting to watch.

The wacky sport can be traced back to July of 1992, when it was practiced during a cultural festival of art school graduates in Prague. Woodkopf (which literally translates to ‘wooden head’) is popular partly due to the fact that the game is simple, inexpensive and requires no complex equipment, but also because it never fails to supply a good dose of humor.

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