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    15 Incredible World Events That Are So Unique, They Sound Made Up

    Face slapping championships and a weekend dedicated to a frozen dead guy? Believe it.

    The coronavirus pandemic is still impacting travel, and destinations around the world have different COVID-19 restrictions in place. Always check and adhere to local government policies, and use our content to dream about a future trip.

    Note: While some of these events may be canceled or put on hold this year — ahem, COVID-19 — they exist and are well-deserving of a slot on your future trip list.

    1. European Sauna Marathon — Estonia

    group of people wearing swimmers, walking out of a sauna into the snow
    Picture Alliance / picture alliance via Getty Image

    Each year in Otepää — aka the “winter capital” of Estonia — people from around the world gather for a sauna marathon during the middle of winter. Participants are given a race map with a select list of saunas to visit and must spend at least three minutes in every sauna. The winner is the team that goes to all the saunas in the shortest time (with bonus points going to those who brave the course's ice holes and plunge pools).

    2. Frozen Dead Guy Days — United States

    3. Boryeong Mud Festival — South Korea

    Festivalgoers playing in a pit of mud
    Chung Sung-jun / Getty Images

    Since 1998, people have been traveling to Boryeong for one simple reason: to get muddy. At this summer festival, you can take a mud bath, enjoy a mud-powder massage, compete in an ultra-muddy obstacle course, or simply let it all go and just roll around in the stuff. When you’ve gotten your fix, head to the town’s beach and hop in the ocean, before you head back for more.

    4. Woolly Worm Festival — United States

    5. Air Guitar World Championship — Finland

    person in a costume on stage playing air guitar aggressively
    Juuso Haarala / Via airguitarworldchampionships.com

    Can’t play an instrument? Have zero musical talent? It’s all good in Oulu, the home of Finland’s air guitar championship that's been running since 1996. Here, it’s all about style and making people smile. In fact, the mission behind the entire event is to promote world peace, with the idea that when everyone picks up the air guitar and jams out, “wars will end, climate change will stop, and all bad things will vanish.”

    6. Lopburi Monkey Banquet Festival — Thailand

    monkey feeding itself on a pyramid made of fruit
    Gnomeandi / Getty Images / Via instagram.com

    Once a year, thousands of macaques get the meal of a lifetime at the Phra Prang Sam Yot temple in Lopburi, Thailand. Almost two tons of fruits and veggies — including watermelon, pineapple, durian, and lettuce — are artfully stacked on banquet tables and hidden under sheets until the monkeys arrive. Then, it’s feasting time.

    The macaques are thought to bring good luck (and tourists) to the area and the annual banquet is a way for the local people to say thanks.

    7. World Toe Wrestling Championships – England

    8. Baby Jumping Festival — Spain

    9. Takhini Hot Springs Hair Freezing Contest — Canada

    10. Kanamara Matsuri – Japan

     A giant penis is carried through the streets at the Phallus Festival
    Picture Alliance / picture alliance via Getty Image / Via instagram.com

    During spring in Japan, the cherry blossoms get all the attention but they aren’t the only thing making headlines. Each April, Kanamara Matsuri, aka the “Penis Festival” or the "Festival of the Steel Phallus," kicks off at the Kanayama Shrine, a Shinto shrine that's associated with sexuality and the male anatomy. Dating back to the 17th century, the festival celebrates fertility, good relationships, and safe sex, and these days it also supports HIV research. In addition to ginormous phallic creations being paraded down the street, you’ll find penis-shaped candy, decor, and even carved vegetables.

    11. Cheung Chau Bun Festival (Jiao Festival) — Hong Kong

    12. World Bog Snorkeling Championships — Wales

    A competitor prepares to snorkle through a muddy bog
    Harry Engels / Getty Images / Via instagram.com

    If you haven’t quite yet found your sport, don’t despair. The tiny country of Wales has invented something completely different: a 60-meter (.03-mile) swim through a wonderfully muddy peat bog. The course requires endurance, a willingness to get dirty, and, perhaps most importantly, a reliable snorkel. If you want more, you might want to consider the Bog Triathlon, which tacks on an 8-mile run and 12-mile mountain bike ride, after you’ve enjoyed your time in the bog.

    13. Night of the Radishes — Mexico

    14. Face Slapping Championship — Russia

    Meanwhile in Russia...the 'male slapping championships' took place in Krasnoyarsk. The winner, Vasiliy Kamotskiy (left) took home 30,000 rubles (£350) 👏🇷🇺

    @DannyWArmstrong / Via Twitter: @DannyWArmstrong

    In Russia, they have their own version of Fight Club: a slapping contest where two men take turns slapping each other as hard as they can. The competition tests the opponents’ tolerance for pain and strength, until one man is left standing. The winner takes home 25,000 roubles ($350 USD). Worth it?

    15. Underwater Music Festival — United States

    divers playing a harp, trumpet, and saxophone underwater
    Bill Keogh / Getty Images

    Standard music festivals are so last year, especially when you can jam out to music while chilling UNDERWATER. It’s a reality at the Underwater Music Festival in Lower Keys, Florida, an event where divers and snorkelers get in costume and hang on the ocean floor. While music is piped underwater, festival participants can rock out on marine-themed instruments. It’s like next-level air guitar.

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