Mass Ice-Fishing at Hwacheon Ice Festival

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Each winter, Hwacheon county, in South-Korea, draws-in over one million people to the Hwacheon Sancheoneo ice festival, held on a frozen river.

Hwacheon Festival hosts sledding, ice-soccer and snowman-building events, but the highlight of the event is the ice-fishing for fresh mountain trout. Under the thick ice, abundant quantities of fish are waiting for skilled fishermen. Anyone can try their luck at catching trout, at one of the nine thousand holes drilled in the icy surface of the river.

You might want to change your seat regularly, as the fish tend to move from one place to another, quite frequently. Once you catch a fish, you can take it to one of the mane cooking centers scattered on the festival grounds. There you can have it prepare raw or grilled. Any way you choose to prepare it, the Sancheoneo fish will melt in your mouth.

Another fun event at the Hwacheon Festival is catching the trout with your bare hands. Just slip in a pool of ice-cold water and try to grab the slippery critters.

Photos by Reuters via Drugoi

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The Hummus Wars Rage on

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Just months after Lebanon set the record for the world’s biggest hummus dish, chefs from the Arab-Israeli village of Abu-Gosh snatched it away with an even greater achievement.

On Friday, fifty cooks mashed up ridiculous quantities of chickpeas, sesame paste, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic and created the world’s largest hummus dish ever, weighing over 4 tons (4,087,5 kg). It was put on display outside the Abu-Gosh Restaurant, on a 20-meter satellite dish, provided by sponsors.

When Guinness official Jack Brookbank acknowledged the new world record and applauded the chefs for not sacrificing quality over quantity,  Jawadat Ibrahim, organizer of the event and owner of the Abu-Gosh Restaurant, shouted that Abu-Gosh is the hummus capital of the world. Clearly taunting words meant for Lebanese chefs, who will most certainly respond with an even bigger hummus dish.

The hummus wars have been raging on between Middle-Eastern countries for a while now, with many of them claiming the tasty dish as a national delicacy. The origins of one of the world’s oldest culinary treats are lost in time, but when has that stopped people from fighting over stuff…

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Kalofer Men Celebrate Epiphany

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The Bulgarian men of Kalofer celebrate Epiphany, an important Orthodox holiday, by performing a traditional dance in the freezing waters of Tundzha river.

On January 6, the small town of Kalofer, located 200 km east of the Bulgarian capital of Sofia, was the scene of an unique event. The men dressed in traditional costumes and, carrying national flags, headed for the neighboring Tundzha river. Here they entered its freezing waters and performed the customary Horo dance.

During the Epiphany ceremony, an Orthodox priest throws a metal cross in the water and young men plunge in to retrieve it. Whoever finds it first is said to stay in perfect health throughout the entire year. After a swim like this, I have my doubts…

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World’s Largest Cup of Hot Chocolate

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Better get a napkin and wipe the drool off the corners of your mouth, or you’re going to need a new keyboard.

In a tasty effort to remind people of how important drinking milk (especially vitamin-D fortified milk) is during the winter months, the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council heated up the world’s largest cup of hot chocolate, in Bryant Park, New York.

The giant mug was filled with 487 gallons of hot chocolate, covered with bags of marshmallows and heated to a perfect temperature of 120 degrees. Between 6,000 and 10,000 cups of delicious hot chocolate were distributed to passers-by, for free.

It seems hot chocolate is one of the best ways to stock up on vitamin-D, during winter. Who knew?

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a keyboard to clean.

via Blisstree

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Post Yule Pyre 2010

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The yearly event organized by the “Friends of the Rootless Forest” is just a nice way of parting with the evergreens that were once adored Christmas trees.

But you know how we humans are, we like things just as long as they serve a a purpose. Same thing with Christmas trees, once the holiday season has passed, most of us just abandon them on the street corners. The Friends of the Rootless Forest patrol the streets of San Francisco, gather all the trees they can find and give them a proper “burial” by setting them aflame.

The tradition of the Post Yule Pyre began in 1990 and more and more people have joined the ranks of the Friends of the Rootless Forest, since then. Every year, after the holiday season, they stack the evergreens on Ocean Beach and watch them burn. But what’s even more impressive is these guys actually clean the ashes off the beach, after the event is over, and plant a number of trees to compensate for the gases released during the Post Yule Pyre. How commendable is that!

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Mexico Sets Record for World’s Biggest Sweet-Bread

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Record attempts are very frequent in Mexico and most of them have to do with food. On January 3rd, Mexican chefs managed to create the world’s biggest sweet bread, called “Rosca de Reyes”.

Popular around the Three Kings holiday, in Mexico, Rosca de Reyes never looked as big and tasty before. The cooking of the sweet bread has been sponsored by Mexico’s National Bakers’ Association, but this year the bakers outdid themselves and came up with the largest Rosca de Reyes ever.

Measuring 720 meters in length and weighing over 10 metric tons, the world’s largest Rosca de Reyes took over 21,000 man hours and $128,000 to make. 50,000 eggs and 2,900 kg of sugar were “sacrificed” during the cooking process.

The giant Rosca de Reyes was shared among 250,000 locals gathered in Mexico City’s Zocalo Square. Many of them couldn’t afford to buy sweet-bread on their own so this event came like a godsend.

Photos via Xinhua

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Stuck at Prom

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Have you ever considered making your prom dress or suit out of duct tape? No? How about for $3,000?

Duck brand Duct Tape have been organizing the “Stuck at Prom” competition for 10 straight years, challenging students to create original prom costumes using as much duct tape as possible. Competitors’ costumes are judged according to the following criteria: workmanship, originality, use of color, accessories and amount of duct tape used. The 10 best costumes are subjected to an online vote.

First place winners receive a $3,000 scholarship, second place gets $2,000, third place $1,000 and runners up receive $500. It may not seem like much, but in these troubled times any penny counts. And plus, you get to wear a cheap prom costume that will definitely catch everyone’s eyes.

via Guidespot

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China’s Most Graceful Ballet Dancers

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Sure, they’re not exactly members of the Balsoi ballet, but you have to admit fat guys never looked better in a tutu.

In an effort to raise awareness to the protection of Pinglu Wetlands, five Chinese members of the workers’ union dressed in ballet costumes and danced gracefully in front of the cameras. I have to say they picked a wacky way to protest against pollution, but hey, whatever gets people’s attention to the environment issue, right?

Here are the chubby performers:

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Boxing on Floating Ice

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Boxing in the hockey ring seems dangerous enough, but the Chinese take it one step further.

Wearing nothing but a pair of shorts and sneakers, a group of winter swimmers entertained passers-by during a series of boxing matches performed on a block of floating ice. Held in Harbin City, the wacky competition had contestants punch each other with over sized boxing gloves while struggling to keep their balance on the slippery ice.

One of the ice boxers lost his temper when the referee tried to stop him from hitting his downed opponent and knocked the “official” in the ice-cold water surrounding the ring.

It’s a crazy event, but the Chinese don’t even come close to the neon-fighting Japanese.

via ImagineChina

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Santa Speedo Run 2009

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A bunch of people running in the streets in speedos, or how a small holiday stunt turned into a national phenomenon.

The Boston tradition known as the Santa Speedo Run began on a Saturday, in December of 2000, when 5 friends decided to do something completely crazy to spice up their weekly routine. The best they could come up with was running through Boston wearing nothing but speedos, Santa hats and fake beards. They tried to get another 20 runners involved, but one week later, at race time, it was still just the five of them.

But they kept their courage and went through with what the plan. People shopping on Newburry Street started screaming and cheering while the five naked Santas ran by. And that, in short, is how the Santa Speedo Run was born.

It has come a long way since then, turning into an annual charity event that raises money for various charities, and inspiring similar displays in other American cities. Anyone can enter the Santa Speedo Run as long as they raise the minimum $250 for charity and aren’t afraid to strip down to their speedos at race time.

Photos via Boston.com

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The Most Number of Dishes on Display, in a Single Day

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That’s the Guinness Record Filipino cooks and cooking students attempted to break yesterday, in Manila.

Chefs from the finest cooking school in Manila gathered at the Araneta Coliseum and attempted to create 5,000 cheese-based dishes, in order to beat the previous record of 4,668, set by India, in 2007.

Alex Tacdera, a representative of Kraft Foods Philippines, said the event was organized to celebrate Filipino originality and love for food, in a time of great challenge for their nation. Guinness Book of Records announced it is waiting for evidence on the result to confirm the new record.

Kraft Eden will also be organizing a “Keso de Gallo”, an event where people will try to use Eden cheese to prepare a feast for families affected by the Ondoy and Pepeng typhhons, who don’t have the means to celebrate Christmas this year.

via Daily Mail

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Australia’s First Ever Mud Run

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Hundreds of contestants, from top cross-running athletes to  couch potatoes gathered in Peats Ridge for the first Mud Run race in Australia.

On December 5, over 750 Aussies showed up in Glenworth Valley to participate in one of the dirtiest races on Earth. Each of the two available courses (one 6 km, the other 12 km long) featured mud pits, bog-holes, mud rivers, grasslands and creek crossings.

The 2009 Mud Run in Peats Ridge was meant to be a competition for everyone, so any person over 12 years-old was free to register and because there was no time-limit they could run or walk the entire race. Competitors were encouraged to enter the Mud Run for a chance to help their favorite charity.

Getting down and dirty Down-Under, now that’s got to be a memorable experience.

via Zimbio

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Undead Disney Characters

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They say Disney heroes never die, but I had no idea this is what they meant.

A bunch of cosplay enthusiasts came up with the crazy idea of dressing up as undead Disney characters like Aladdin, Pocahontas, Belle, Cinderella and others.  That’s how they showed up at the London MCM Expo, this October. That’s where they met with other undead characters like Two-Face and a Jedi and decided to immortalize their historical get-together in a photoshoot.I’m glad they did!

via Neatorama

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Giant Pink Snails Invade Milan

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A group of 12 overgrown pink snails have taken over Plazza Scala, in Italy’s fashion capital, Milan.

These unusual plastic models were created by the Italian Cracking Art group and are on a mission to change people’s lifestyle. In a world where everything is happening so fast, the pink snails are here to let you know “speed isn’t always a virtue” and slowing down to enjoy the beauty of the city can be quite refreshing.

“We need to play with the city to break with our obvious daily routine and rediscover the experience of moving about the city” said Finazzer Flory, Milan’s culture counselor. He added that the giant pink snails are shaped to resemble an ear to also make people listen to what’s going on around them

The slimy giants will be moved periodically towards the Palazzo Reale and, in January, they’ll make an appearance at the central train station. They’ll then go on a series of international visits to Amman, Tel Aviv and Chicago. They’ll return to Milan in 2015, as part of a 120-snail army. That sounds kind of scary…

via UPI

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Yam King Contest Held in China

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On November 25, a yam and taro contest crowned the largest yam of 2009, in South-West China.

As one of the biggest yam and taro supplier in China, Anhe Township held the seventh annual Yam King Contest. Farmers from all around the area brought their biggest harvested yams hoping they’ll snatch the title of yam King 2009.

The winner of the contest was a 1.66 meters-long yam that weighed 38 kilograms. I bet that’s big enough to feed the farmer’s whole family for a long time.

via Xinhua

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