April Fools’ Day is just the beginning of this month’s wild frivolity. Penis parades, water balloon fights and naked bonfire dancing are just a few quirky things to do on the global calendar. Maybe it’s the warmer weather or ’tis the season to procreate, whatever the reason, here are some of the weird world festivals in April to check out:
Naghol Land Diving
Sky diving? No problem. But diving off a tower with only a vine to save you? Um, no. Annually, brave men from the Sa tribe ‘land dive’ from a 98-foot-tall tower made of tree branches. The art of surviving this rite of passage and male fertility ritual? It’s all about the length of the vines. Too short, he swings back up to the tower. Too long and he’ll be in serious pain (possibly bones broken) when he hits the ground. Only fifty visitors are allowed per land dive event (approved by the tribal chiefs via the official Vanatua tourism site). For a preview of what’s store for, check out Idiot Abroad’s feeble attempt at land diving. Fun fact: After witnessing land diving on Pentacost Island in the 70s, New Zealander AJ Hacket invented bungee jumping.
Where: Pentacost Island, Vanatua, South Pacific
When: April 5th, 2014
Getting There: From either Sydney or Auckland, take Air Vanuatu or Vanuatu Helicopters for inter-island transportation.
Kanamara Matsuri Festival
Based on the ancient tradition that celebrities fertility, healthy births, long-lasting unions, the Festival of the Iron Phallus is an all-out praise of the penis. Penis icons, from puppets to lollipops, are erected. The festivities are centered around an afternoon parade featuring penis sculptures carried by people dressed in pink. Highlights include a radish-carving competition (carve the most anatomically correct radish and you win), a costume parade and riding the phallus-shaped seesaw (deemed as a fertility aid).
Where: Kawasaki, Japan
When: April 6th, 2014
Getting There: Fly into Tokyo’s Narita International Airport (NRT) and take the half-hour bus ride to Kawasaki Daishi Station, which is very close to the shrine and heart of the action.
When was the last time you had a full-on water fight? During the Songkran Festival in Thailand, don your water balloons, hoses and Super Soakers for a three-day water fight. Based on the Buddhist monk practice of sprinkling water on statues of the Buddha, it’s a symbol of cleansing and renewal. Although the festival takes places in several cities in Thailand, the largest is in Chiang Mai. A parade featuring Buddha floats and elaborately painted elephants plus, as with all parties, copious amounts of Thai food and drink abound. Be prepared, you may get wet in other places, like restaurants, hotels and even cab rides, outside the festival’s epicenter.
Where: Chiang Mai, Thailand (also in cities like Bangkok and
When: April 13-15, 2014
Getting there: Fly into Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX). Take a cab to the Old City as most of the activities are centered around the 13th century moat.
Burned out on Burning Man? AfrikaBurn is the mini-me version of Burning Man, representing what Burning Man was like 10 or 15 years ago. “Dance, groove, scream, shout, cartwheel, cavort naked and howl at the moon freely and without hindrance,” reads the AfrikaBurn passport handed out to every participant. Art installations abound, but it will only take you a few hours to see the sights. Burning Man might take you a few days. Other differences include a more intense party atmosphere and a younger crowd.
Where: Tankwa Karoo, North Cape Province, South Africa
When: April 28 – May 4, 2014
Getting There: Fly into Cape Town International Airport (CPT) and then rent a four-wheel drive vehicle to make the trek on rough roads roughly 250 miles from Cape Town.