Bizarre Festivals: Thaipusam, India, Malaysia, Singapore
Thaipusam is a Hindu festival held annually in January and February in India, Singapore and Malaysia. It is celebrated mostly by Tamil people and celebrates the birth of Murugan, the son of gods Shiva and Parvati. For the celebration, revelers shave their heads and perform a pilgrimage, and it spirals downwards from there.
At the end of the rituals, participants shove sharp skewers through their tongues or cheeks and some put hooks on their back to pull heavy objects. The aim of the festivities is to endure as much pain as possible, and those who endure the most are said to be given the most blessings.
Fiesta de Santa Marta de Ribarteme, Spain
Spain is a figurative mecca for bizarre festivals, and the Fiesta de Santa Marta de Ribarteme is no exception. The festival is held annually in Las Nieves for people who have suffered near-death experiences in the last year. The participants gather for a Mass in celebration of the Patron Saint of resurrection, Saint Marta de Ribarteme, either carrying a coffin, or being carried in a coffin. The festival ends with fireworks and selling of religious objects.