By Andy Krutsinger, Mt. Pleasant News
Unless you?ve been living under a rock this week (shoutout Patrick Star), you know what?s going on in Mt. Pleasant. It?s Old Threshers weekend, the time when this town is filled with people from all over the Earth who have flocked in to town for the fesitivites.
This is just my fourth year living in Mt. Pleasant, so I?m still pretty new to the tradition. I lived in Iowa for the first 18 years of my life and didn?t even know about the reunion, so it got me thinking. What other types of reunions or general get-togethers take place around this crazy world that I just don?t know about.
So I decided to do a little research and learn about some other festivals that go on every year.
Let?s get weird right away and learn about the annual baby jumping festival that takes place in the Spanish village of Castrillo de Murcia.
The baby-jumping festival happens every year in mid-June. Wait, mid-June? Dang! We just missed it.
And what do they do at the baby jumping festival? You?ll never guess. They jump over babies.
That?s right. Newborn babies are laid down on some blankets and they get jumped over Evil Knievel style by grown adults.
Don?t worry though, they don?t let just any adults jump over all the infants. Only speciality trained adults, who wear red and yellow masks and call themselves ?devils.? So probably pretty trustworthy people.
According to National Geographic, the festival is ?A blend of Catholic and pagan rituals meant to represent the triumph of good over evil.? Ok, but my bet is it?s mostly pagan because I?m Catholic and I?ve never even jumped over one baby (on purpose).
Oh and one other thing - the devils carry around this horsetail that?s attached to a stick, and they just run up to you, hurl insults at you and then beat you with it. Yeah, sounds pretty hardcore.
Many people wouldn?t believe that the Michael Jackson hit song ?Beat it? was actually written about the devils at this festival. And they shouldn?t, because it isn?t.
This is a German festival/holiday dedicated to the anti-Santa, ?Krampus.? As the story goes, every year, St. Nicholas gives gifts to the good, well-behaved children, while the bad kids get coal from Krampus.
I watched a Youtube video on this festival, which takes place every year on Dec. 6, and let me tell you... it?s scarrier than watching a bunch of masked men leap over babies.
They have this parade that?s basically like Halloween, only every single costume looks like it would go for at least a hundred bucks at Walmart.
Think about the kid you knew growing up that went all out for halloween, wearing the scariest masks and jumping at people. Now imagine hundreds of those kids parading through the streets and messing with all the little children.
As spooky as it is, it probably really does scare kids straight. But the whole idea of Krampus just makes it seem like Santa needs to pin his coal-giving operation on someone else. Kind of the ?good cop, bad cop? strategy.
Also, there was a scary movie that came out last year about Krampus that I?m pretty sure nobody watched, but for what it?s worth, I think he could really whip the new generation in to shape.
INTERNATIONAL HAIR FREEZING CONTEST
In March, a bunch of people in Yukon Canada get together and freeze their hair in weird shapes, and then they swim around in some water.
Sound lame? Well, it kind of is, but I wanted to lighten the mood after all the scary stuff. Step up your game, Canada!
THE BATTLE OF THE ORANGES
In 1194, a German dynasty called the ?Hohestaufen Staufer? took over the Kingdom of Sicily. The people of Ivrea, Italy, recreate this revolt with ?The Battle of Oranges,? which is a multi-day event.
Each year, the people of Ivrea split in to teams and just pelt each other with oranges. They literally just chuck oranges at each other as hard as they can, sometimes at point-blank range.
There isn?t much more to it, really. They just keep throwing oranges at each other. They do that for hours on end.
It would be kind of funny if one team decided to bring apples, just to switch things up. I?d think apples hurt more, but I?ve never had someone chuck fruit at me so I?m not really an expert.
You know what would be a really good fruit to throw at someone? A banana. I bet if you practiced hard enough, you could throw them like boomerangs and have them come back to you, too.
CHEUNG CHAU BUN FESTIVAL
This one is all about grabbing buns!
The Cheung Chau Bun Festival in Hong Kong takes place in May. They stick a bunch of sweet buns on 60-foot high towers. The townspeople then climb up the bun tower and try and collect as many buns as possible.
This one is actually kind of depressing to me, because sweet buns are really good. And do you know what makes sweet buns way less tasty? When they?re stuck 60 feet in the air all day and then a bunch of people climb all over them. Yuck.
From the videos on Youtube, there are roughly 10 people who climb up these bun towers all at the same time, and they just go crazy, grabbing buns like their life depends on it.
Luckily Hong Kong has bungee cord technology, so there are safety measures keeping the contestants from falling to their death. Which is good, because that would be a pretty embarrassing way to go.
There are plenty more of these crazy traditions to read about, so I suggest you check them out. Shout out to hostelworld.com for putting together a list on their website. Here is the link to that story. https://www.hostelworld.com/blog/24-weird-and-wonderful-festivals-from-around-the-world/.