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The Shocking Fireball Festival of Nejapa

The Fireball Festival is an old tradition celebrated each year, on August 31st, in the town of Nejapa, El Salvador.

“Las Bolas de Fuego”, as the locals refer to this bizarre event, is actually a reenactment of the fight between San Jeronimo and the devil. In 1922, the people of Nejapa and the surrounding area were forced to evacuate, by the eruption of a nearby volcano. As they were leaving, locals saw great balls of fire spewing out of the volcano, and believed their patron saint was actually fighting the devil with them.

Ever since they witnessed the fight between good and evil, the people of Nejapa have celebrated it each year, by organizing their very own fireball fight. If you didn’t know this was an organized celebration, you’d be tempted to think you’ve been dropped in the middle of a war-zone. Two teams of young men, with their faces covered by war paint, throw flaming fireballs at each other, surrounded by hundreds of bystanders who watch their every move.

Equipped with gloves and clothes soaked in water, the brave combatants throw and at the same time, evade the flaming fireballs made from rags and dipped in fuel. Some of their clothes do catch on fire, and some of the participants are often hit right in the face, at point blank, but despite all the health hazards, few injuries have been reported during the Fireball Festival.

It’s definitely a shocking display, but un a country like El Salvador, where gangs and violence are everywhere, getting hit by a flaming fireball, during “Las Bolas de Fuego” is the least dangerous thing that can happen.

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Traditional Football in the River Match Played in Burton

The annual Burton-on-the-Water football match is an old tradition that still manages to draw the interest of thousands of football fans.

No one really knows how the unusual football tradition began, but one thing is for sure – the Burton-on-the-Water match has been played for over 100 years, in the ankle-high waters of River Windrush, in Burton, Gloucester.

Two teams of six compete in the unique football match: the Burton Rovers First Eleven and the Burton Rovers Second Eleven. The two teams have to follow the rules of a normal football game,while they try to control the ball through the shallow waters of the river. Spectators are advised to wear waterproof clothes if they wish to watch the game from the side of the “pitch”, as the teams tend to make a splash.

The 2010 edition of the Burton-on-the-Water football in the river match was held on Monday, August 30, and was watched by over 1,000 spectators.

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World Gravy Wrestling Championship 2010

One of the wackiest competitions in the world, the World Gravy Wrestling Championship drew in quite a crowd this year, at the Rose n’ Bowl pub, in Stacksteads, Britain.

Over 1,000 people gathered at the famous Lancashire venue, to watch 24 competitors get down and dirty in a pool of gravy. All the contestants had to do to defeat their opponents was get most of the applause, after the 2 minute-long wrestling match. To do this, they wore funny costumes and tried to impress the audience by performing special moves.

Over 2,000 liters of past-its-before-date gravy was supplied for the 2010 World Gravy Wrestling Championship, all of it made following a special local recipe. Hopefully wrestlers didn’t swallow too much of it…

The World Gravy Wrestling Championship is a fun event that aims to raise money for charity, despite the competitive streak of most competitors. This year’s winners were Elliot Rooke, who was dressed as a bunny, and Elisa Samson, who wrestled as Little Bo Peep, in the ladies’ contest.

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Scouts Create Giant Scout Badge in Mexico City

Hundreds of young Mexican scouts gathered in the main square of Mexico City, on Sunday, August 30, to create what may be the largest scout badge in the world. The outline of the scout lily was traced beforehand, and the scouts had to fill the entire design with over 1.65 million differently colored used metal cans. Not only is this the largest scout badge ever created, but it also sends a strong message about the need to recycle.


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The Frog Jumping Festival of Valley City

Ever since 1962, the small town of Valley City, Ohio has hosted one of the weirdest, most fun events in the world – the Frog Jumping Festival.

Over 2,000 fun-loving people take part in the Frog Jumping Festival of Ohio, every year, eager to watch the annual Frog Jump Contest, participate in a series of games, or simply spend some quality time with family and friends. Attending the festival is free, but those who want to enter the Frog Jump Contest have to pay a $3 fee.

The most important event in the Frog Jumping Festival is the Frog Jump Contest, where around 600 competitors, from toddlers to the elderly, try to get their frogs to jump as far as possible. No touching is permitted, though, the frog jockeys are only allowed to tap the ground behind their frogs, scream at them, or blow at them to make them jump. That doesn’t always work though, some frogs just don’t feel like jumping.

Competitors are allowed to bring their own frogs, or they can rent one for $5. Winners get trophies and bragging rights for the whole year. The 2010 Frog Jump Contest, held on August 15, was won by one year old Lindsey Jackson, who got her frog to jump a total distance of 14 feet.

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Star Wars Fan Marries R2-D2

Ever since she first saw R2-D2 for the first time, in A New Hope, when she was just a little girl, Bonnie Burton developed a crush on the little robot. Now that she’s all grown up, the geeky Star Wars fan decided to follow her heart and marry the droid of her dreams.

After countless disappointments from humans who simply didn’t get her geeky attitude, Bonnie decided droids are way better than boys anyway, and used the Star Wars Celebration V event, on August 13, as an opportunity to officially marry R2-D2, her longtime crush. So, during a ceremony presided by non other than the evil Darth Maul, good ol’ R2 and Bonnie became droid and wife.

Bonnie was given away at the altar by Steve Sansweet, Fan Relations Director at Lucasfilm, and had R2-KT as maid of honor, while R2-D2 had Darth Vader as best man.

Ms. Porter realizes her marriage to a droid won’t be accepted by everyone, but they had just too many things in common and she just couldn’t suppress her feelings. All I can say is I hope they’ll be happy together!

Check out more photos of the happy event here, and a video of the ceremony here.

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Toro Jubilo Festival Makes Bullfighting Look Like Child’s Play

If you thought bullfighting was cruel and barbaric, you’ll soon learn there are far worse ways to kill an innocent animal in the name of primitive entertainment.

Every year, on the second weekend of November, a horrific show takes place in the streets of Medinacelli, an otherwise picturesque Spanish town. As soon as the sun sets, bulls are brought into the town square, surrounded and restrained by the “bravest” of participants. Big balls of pitch are attached to the bull’s horns and the animal is set loose through the town.

This savage bull run is known as Toro Jubilo, and the bull is called Toro de Fuego, which translates as “bull of Fire”. As the pitch burns like a bonfire on the horns, it scorches his eyes and face causing it unspeakable pain. Disoriented and in agony, the bull often runs into walls and hurts himself even more, while the crowd run around him and cheers.

After hours of immense pain and eventually being blinded by the flames, the bull dies in agony. If this wasn’t cruel enough, the animal’s carcass is cut up and split among the participants to the event. Toro Jubilo is viewed simply as a form of entertainment by the people of Medinacelli, but this kind of animal cruelty doen’t qualify as such.

If you feel this is an old tradition that should continue, in the name of cultural diversity, just read this post, look at the photos and get back to what you were doing, but if you want to put a stop to it, make sure you sign this petition (I did) and share it with your friends.

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Bee Beard Competition 2010 – A Truly Stinging Contest

Bee beards have been around since the 1700s and up until a hundred years ago, honey vendors used them to attract customers, but now these organic disguises have their very own competition. Ever year, the world’s bravest apiarists gather in Aylmer, Ontario for the Clovermead Bees & Honey, Bee Beard Competition.

It’s not exactly the kind of contest people are dying to get into, for obvious reasons, but there are those who enjoy having tens of thousands of honey bees around their necks, or even covering their faces. The object of the Bee Beard Competition is to get as many bees on your body as possible. Contenders are weighed before and after they are covered in bees, and the heaviest one wins.

 

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Germany Sets World Record for Most Human Dominoes

Before today, I didn’t even know there was such a thing as human dominoes, but it appears events involving people falling over each other have been going on for years.

That’s right, believe it or not human domino events are among the top world record attempts. That’s probably because it doesn’t require any special skills or a lot of effort. All participants need is a mattress and a god mood.

On July 31st, a new world record was set for the most human dominoes. 769 people and their mattresses fell over each other, thus beating the old record set earlier this year, in Dubai. Back then, only 344 human dominoes were toppled.

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Ear Pull – A Manly Game That Will Test Your Ears

One of the most difficult games I’ve ever heard of, Ear Pull is an old Inuit tradition that has competitors test the strength of their ears.

The Ear Pull is as simple as it is painful. Two contestants sit down in front of each other with their legs straddled and interlocked, place a loop of twine around one of their ears, and at the referee’s signal, start pulling back until one of them either yields or the loop of twine comes off from one of the ears.

It may sound like a horrific display, to some of you, but the Ear Pull is a registered sport practiced at the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics. Competitors’ faces contort, their ears turn bright red and crumple as the string cuts deeper into the cartilage, and some of them even require stitches. And for what, some of you may ask. Most ear pull competitors say they do it to endure pain, but the old Inuits used to practice this bizarre game as training for enduring ear frostbites.

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Hundreds of Ballerinas Set Pointe Standing World Record

Hundreds of ballerinas of all ages gathered on Monday, in Central Park, New York, to set a new world record for standing on pointe.

Led by a desire to leave their mark on the world of ballet dancing, 241 ballerinas from New York’s dance school attempted to set a new Guinness world record, by standing on pointe simultaneously. Most of them heard about the challenge online, and decided to “make history through dance” with other fellow ballerinas.

At the signal of Craig Salstein, a soloist with the American Ballet Theater, the ballerinas attempted to stand on their toes. 230 of them managed to maintain their pose for 1 minute and 7 seconds, thus beating the old record set last year. by 220 other ballerinas.

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Batman Finally Ties the Knot

That’s right fans of the Dark Knight, your favorite superhero is finally settling down with the love of his life, none other than Wonder Woman. Surrounded by their superhero friends, the lovely couple said “I do” in front of Joker, who played master of ceremonies.

46-year-old Neil Vaughan, and 40-year-old Sharon are not the most traditional people in England, so they decided to get married as their favorite superheroes, and asked their attending friends to follow their example. Neil wanted to be Batman ever since he was a child, and his wife said she always dreamed of being Wonder Woman. They spent under 300 pounds on costumes, to finally fulfill their dreams.

Robin, Batman’s faithful sidekick, was his best man on the big day, while the adorable Powerpuff Girls were bridesmaids. The cast of superheroes at this incredible wedding included The Hulk, Spiderman, Superman, Ironman, Captain America, Wolverine and many others.

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Italy Hosts Miss Chubby Beauty Contest

31 overweight beauties of Italy competed for the title of “Miss Cicciona“, which translates as Miss Chubby, in the yearly contest of Forcoli.

The only entry condition for Miss Cicciona is related to the weight of the contestants. Women have to be at least 100 kilograms heavy, in order to be admitted. The lucky ones then try to impress the judges by parading in glamorous gowns, or undergarments. The bravest of the women even try striptease routines to gain an edge. The winner doesn’t get a prize, just a boost in self esteem and a huge cake to share with her competitors.

Miss Cicciona was founded to show the beauty of overweight women. Most of them are mocked and humiliated every time they go out in public, and this is a welcome opportunity to actually be proud and feel good about how they look.

This year’s winner of Miss Cicciona was 33-year old Angela Scognamiglio, from Naples. The 170 kilogram heavy beauty said she “felt like she had just won the lottery”.

 

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Shocking “Meat Is Murder” Protest by PETA

PETA (People for the Ethic Treatment of Animals) staged some pretty original protests in the past, but its most recent, “Meat Is Murder” was a bit on the shocking size. The event took place July 27th, in Times Square, New York.

PETA demonstrators  acted like packed pieces of meat, the kind you see in most every supermarket, only a lot bloodier. The human meat packs were branded with stickers that read ‘Billions of Animals Are Abused and Violently Killed Because You Eat Meat’. Now doesn’t that make you feel guilty?

I’ll confess I was moved by a few of these protests, but this particular one just managed to gross me out. I think PETA would be much wiser to stop condemning everyone who eats meat, and just militate for the ethical treatment of animals raised for slaughter, before they are sacrificed. To hope everyone will just stop eating meat is just unrealistic, and quite frankly their zero-policy attitude is doing more harm than good.

Let me know if these trays of packed human meat convinced you to stop eating meat. They just made me hungry. Read More »

Hemingway Look-Alike Contest Takes Place in Key West

The island city of Key West has been hosting an Ernest Hemingway  look-alike contest, for the last 20 years. People sporting wool turtle-neck sweaters and white beards try to convince the judges they most resemble the famous writer.

Interestingly enough, Hemingway Day takes place during the month of July, a time when the real Ernest Hemingway wouldn’t have been caught dead in hot Key West. Secondly, during his time spent in the island city, Hemingway was slender man, with black hair and just a small mustache, unlike the contenders of the look-alike contest.

During the Hemingway look-alike contest, competitors have to emulate the late “papa” look of Ernest Hemingway, and are judged by a panel of previous contest winners. This year’s contest took place on July 24, in Sloppy Joe’s bar, the writer’s favorite watering hole.

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