Bring a poncho! The world's messiest festivals

Pack a poncho! The world's messiest festivals

Huge gatherings in the streets can get extremely unruly with lots of crowds and loud music - but add mud, food and even monkeys and you get a damn right dirty day out.

We've rounded up the world's messiest festivals, from La Tomatina in Spain to Florida's Colour Run.

The world's messiest festivals
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Bring a poncho! The world's messiest festivals

The dirty and wacky World Bog Snorkelling Championships take place every August in Llanwrtyd Wells, and as you can gather from its name, this isn't the rosiest of festivals! Competitors are required to wear goggles, a snorkel and flippers, and must swim two lengths of a dug-out, 60-yard trench in a bog. We'd recommend keeping your mouth closed if you're thinking of taking part!

The colourful festival of Holi is takes place each year at the end of February or early March in India and Nepal, and celebrates the triumph of good over bad, renewing relationships and bridging the social gap. The festival begins with the lighting of a bonfire on Holi eve and on the main day there is the play of colours, a tradition of pure enjoyment. People throw powdered paint and spray coloured water on each other while singing Bollywood songs and dancing in the streets. As you can see it all gets very messy!

Pillow-wielding revellers take part in International Pillow Fight Day across more than 100 cities, including London, Hong Kong and Toronto every April. The pillow fights are seen as a fun way to get people outside and relieve stress, and there are just two rules - no hitting people with cameras or without pillows.

In Spain, the Els Enfarinats Festival is an annual flour fight which sees the citizens of Ibi celebrate the Day of the Innocents with a battle on 28 December using flour, eggs and firecrackers. There are two groups in the battle: Els Enfarinats - married men who take control of the village enforcing ridiculous laws and fining the citizens that infringe them, and La Oposicio, which tries to restore order. The money from the fines is collected and donated to charities in the village, so everyone gets dirty for a good cause!

St. Pete and Clearwater's 5km Colour Run is a run with a twist taking place every December, with participants pounding the streets of downtown St. Pete in any way they choose - running, walking, skipping or dancing to the music along the route. Each Colour Runner must wear a white T-shirt at the start line and be completely covered in colour at the finish. Every kilometre has a colour and runners will be blitzed by volunteers at the side lines. At the end there is a mass throw of colour packets to create a cloud of rainbow hues. The coolest run in the world? We think so!

Love mud? Head to South Korea and get mucky at the annual Boryeong Mud Festival, which takes place over two weeks in the summer. The mud is taken from the Boryeong mud flats to the Daecheon beach area where it is used to create the Mud Experience Land. Tourists and locals flock to immerse themselves in the mud and festival fun, with activities such as mud wrestling, mud sliding and even swimming in a mega mud tub.

Ever wanted to have a water fight with an elephant? Thailand's Songkran Festival is one of the world's biggest water fights where even the elephants get wet. The festival celebrates Thailand's Lunar New Year and is when young Thais seek blessing from their elders by pouring scented water over their hands before a mass water fight, which is held in the peak of the hot season allowing everyone to cool each other down. Water balloons, hoses, high-powered water guns and elephants are used to douse suspecting and unsuspecting participants during the three-day celebration.

You might see it as a waste of perfectly good wine, but in the region of Rioja in northern Spain, residents celebrate the annual Batalla del Vino, or Haro Wine Festival, on 29 June by pouring 45,000 litres of wine over each other. Around 10,000 'warriors' take part in the event, held to commemorate the taking over of the Cliffs of Bilibio in the Middle Ages, and there is a procession through the town and young and old people tossing red wine over their white clothes.

Glastonbury Festival is as famous for its mud as its music and attracts the world's biggest stars to rock the muddy fields at England's best-known music festival. Each summer, around 150,000 revellers descend on the 900 acres of farmland, pulling their tents, suitcases and bottles of local West Country cider through the mud, if it's been a wet year. By the end of Glastonbury's "muddy years", the site turns into a huge mud bath with festivalgoers sliding around in the stuff and rubbing it over each other. Nice!

Held in the Valencian town of Bunol, La Tomatina is the world's most famous food fight, which starts on the last Wednesday of every August with thousands of people from all around the world throwing more than one hundred tonnes of over-ripe tomatoes in the streets. The week-long tomato fight is purely for fun and although the ripping of T-shirts is not allowed, everyone ends up ripping each other's clothes off and most end up in their smalls covered in tomato pulp. When it comes to cleaning up, the firemen use their trucks to spray down the streets and the ground ends up extra clean due to the acidity of the fruit.

Piedmont's Battle of the Oranges is only slightly cleaner than La Tomatina, with organised groups in historical costumes throwing oranges at each other. It's unclear why the festival began but it is said that it celebrates the city's defiance against a 12th-century tyrant. Thousands of townspeople divide into teams and have an "orange battle" with the streets and squares of the city of Ivrea brought back to medieval times.

The Cadbury Jaffa Roll in New Zealand is an iconic event, part of the Cadbury Chocolate Carnival in the city of Dunedin. The Jaffa Roll consists of Jaffa sweets (orange-coated chocolate candy balls) being rolled down the steepest street in the world, Baldwin Street. The giant Jaffas are sent off in a sea of orange hurtling down the street and the 30,000 sweets end up at the bottom in 15 seconds. That's a lot of cleaning up for a display lasting a few seconds!

It's not just people who get messy at festivals as the annual Monkey Buffet Festival in Thailand is all about the animals and celebrates the offering of fruits and vegetables to the local primate population of 2,000 to say thank you for attracting tourism. As you can imagine, the strange festival at a temple in Lopburi gets messy, with the animals climbing over the tables and taking a bite out of everything they see at the all-you-can-eat buffet.

To mark the first day of Orthodox Lent in Greece, the city of Galaxidi celebrates Clean Monday with only "pure" food eaten and the annual Flour War. The flour fight is a long-held tradition, where the residents and visitors to the city bombard each other with bags of coloured flour. The old buildings in the city are covered with sheets to stop the dye leaving stains but nobody is spared so if you're visiting Galaxidi on Clean Monday, you'll most certainly be covered in flour!


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