Image: La Tomatina, Spain - MikeJamieson1950 on Flickr
6 Messy Festivals Around the World (scroll down for gallery)
When: Last Wednesday of August
Ever wondered what the world’s biggest food fight may look like? Then La Tomatina is your answer. The annual festival involves thousands of people slipping, sliding, and having fun in more than one hundred metric tons of ripe tomatoes.
The red-raw fruit is thrown in the streets in the same way you would expect to launch a water balloon at someone; however, most of the tomatoes are quickly turned to sludge, making the experience much more dirty and much more fun.
Dubbed the 'world's biggest food fight', which takes place in the town of Bunol, Valencia, La Tomatina is a festival that thousands, from all corners of the world, travel to witness for themselves. There are, of course, the usual festival elements too, like music, parades, dancing and fireworks.
When: Dates vary every year. 2013 start date is March 27
If you’re looking for a festival of culture, colour and character then Holi is perfect. Primarily known as a festival of colours, Holi is a messy celebration that can last up to 16 days. During this time, thousands of Hindus all over the world hold bonfires, throw coloured powder at each other and celebrate the beginning of the new season of spring.
Although Holi is a predominantly Hindu festival, it is probably the least religious, yet most exhilarating one. Originally, it was a festival that commemorated good harvests and the fertile land, as well as having significance to Hindu mythology. Now, Holi has become more fun, messy and open to all who want to participate – this is one where you will definitely need a change of clothes.
When: April 13 - 15
Possibly the biggest water fight in the world – Thailand’s three-day water festival is celebrated with buckets, water pistols, water balloons and any other entrapment that will carry water.
Thais will party in Songkran, the Thai New Year with great enthusiasm, soaking one another to mark the symbolic belief of cleansing the mind, body and spirit. People pray to the Buddha, clean their houses and surrounding temples as well as offering gifts to the monks.
A sprinkling of scented water is poured over the elders as a mark of respect. In simple terms though, if you’re a water-lover then this is one festival that you won’t want to miss.
When: June 29, St Peter’s Feast Day
The Spanish really do know how to get dirty and have some harmless fun in the sun, as when it’s not tomatoes they're messing with, it’s wine. La Batalla del Vino, the Battle of Wine, takes place every year in one of Spain’s beautiful wine-producing regions, La Rioja, in a small town called Haro.
Thousands of people take to San Felices’s Mount with plastic jugs or leather bags filled with wine and squirt each other until every last person standing is soaked, followed by taking part in traditional dances in the plaza, eating delicious food, and of course, drinking wine!
Nowadays, people tend to use buckets too so it may be a good idea to take goggles as well as a spare change of clothes. For those who want to get well in with the locals and spirit of the festival, there are also wine drinking competitions and contests to drink your way through.
When: Early April - 2013 date is April 6
The one day of the year that it’s ok to have a pillow fight on the street; make a mess; smile; laugh and go home happy – all without getting in any trouble! From Amsterdam to Brazil, London and Shanghai, there will be massive pillow fights in cities around the world where hundreds and possibly thousands will gather with their pillow-in-tow and batter strangers all in the name of fun.
To see where the feathers will fly in your city this year, check out the official website of the popular event.
When: August 15
Though not messy on the scale of some of the other festivals on the list, Tintamarre is a lively and noisy festival full of fun. It is said to celebrate the ‘Assumption of Mary’ and takes place in Canada on National Acadian Day.
Here the French folk custom is enjoyed by thousands in the sleepy town of Caraquet, in the Acadian tradition of marching through one's community making noise with improvised instruments and other noisemakers.
Participants will dress up, paint their face, use foghorns and chainsaws to make noise, and overall have a wonderful time demonstrating the vitality and solidarity of Acadian French society. On messy rating it doesn’t score very high but on fun factor and uniqueness, Tintamarre is pretty up there.
Have we missed any of your favourite messy festivals? Tell us in the comments below or tweet us @FemaleFirst_UK