India is made colourful with a wide variety of cultures, represented in the form of different festivals held in various parts of the country. But there are some which are more unusual than the others and follow some unique customs and traditions.
Below are some quirky and strange festivals in India that will amaze you. Some are fun, while others may leave you wishing you’d looked away.
Widely known as the Fire Festival, Angi Kheli is celebrated in Mangalore every April with hundreds of daredevils wearing nothing but loincloths throwing fireballs at each other. These men are divided into two teams and if a player catches fire, his teammates treat with him some kind of a special holy water called Kumkumarchane. Full of danger yet a spectacle to watch – every Indian must witness Agni Kheli at least once in his life.
Every year, Thrissur celebrates Pulikkali in such a grand way that will totally blow your mind. Men dress up as tigers and entertain the spectators. By the end of it all, the best performer is chosen and awarded. The detail with which the make-up and the costumes are done is just mind boggling. If you want to see a hundred tigers together, Pulikkali is a festival you must not miss.
What: Held before Holi, this festival of the Bhil and Bhilala tribes allows young boys and girls to choose each other for marriage, and then elope with their respective partners. The boy puts red powder on the girl he chooses to marry, while the girl responds by doing the same, if she is willing. If the girl refuses, the boy is given another chance to win her over.
Where: Khargon and Jhabua districts of Madhya Pradesh
Lath Mar Holi
People in and around Mathura start celebrating Holi way in advance and how! According to a legend, Lord Krishna was chased out of Barsana by women using sticks because he was teasing them, playfully, of course. Since then, men from neighbouring places come to Barsana only to be chased away (read beaten up) by women holding lathis for celebrating Holi. The devotional songs playing in the background with people chanting Hare Krishna and the bhang/thandai totally add to the mood.
It commemorates the day that Goddess Parvati gave him a lance to slay an evil demon army.
During Thaipusam, devotees pray to Lord Murugan and show their endurance in order to receive his grace to overcome obstacles. Some fanatical devotees go to extreme lengths to please the Lord and try to get rid of their sins. They pierce various parts of their bodies with hooks, skewers, and small lances. Apparently, the devotees enter into a trance state and don’t feel pain or bleed from their wounds. It’s horrifying yet fascinating!
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