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8 Weirdest Holidays From Around The World

Aug. 7 2009, Published 11:01 a.m. ET

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We don’t think anybody should need an excuse to celebrate but apparently not everyone feels that way. After doing a little digging, the staff at found some of the weirdest, strangest and funniest holidays celebrated around the world. Of course not all of these are mainstream holidays, and some may have only a few devotees, but they all deserve mentioning.

Here are the eight weirdest holidays from around the world:

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8. Bean Throwing Day: Called Setsubun in Japan, this holiday occurs on the first day of spring according to the lunar calendar, which is typically February 2 or 3. It involves scattering roasted beans around homes, temples, and shrines to scare away evil spirits. Perhaps beans make them gassy.

7. Lammas Day: On August 1, many English-speaking countries in the Northern Hemisphere celebrate this festival, also called 'loaf-mass' day, which is the first wheat harvest of the year. It's a custom to bring a loaf made from the new crop to church, and in some parts of England tenants were required to give freshly harvested wheat to their landlords. Apparently rent alone wasn't considered good enough.

6. Hangul Day: Also called Korean Alphabet Day, this holiday celebrates the creation and the proclamation of the Korean alphabet, or hangul. Naturally, given their contrary natures, the North Koreans celebrate it on January 15, and the South Koreans on October 9.

5. Magpie Festival: Celebrated on the 7 day of the 7 lunar month on the Chinese calendar, it is sometimes called Chinese Valentine's Day. However, in China single young girls actually pray for a good husband and demonstrate their domestic skills, such as melon carving and embroidery.

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4. Straw Bear Day: This old English festival occurs on January 7, after Plough Monday (which itself is pretty nutso), the traditional start of the English agricultural year. At this time a man or boy is completely covered in straw and led to all the houses in the area, where he dances in exchange for money, food, or beer. Farmers often save their best straw for the costume. Though an ancient custom, it was revived in 1980.

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3. Up-Helly-Aa: In Scotland this holiday is descended from a Viking celebration of the rebirth of the sun, and involves a torch procession of hundreds of people dressed in various costumes, ending with the throwing of the fires into a replica Viking ship. Hey, whatever sinks your boat!

10. Näfelser Fahrt: An annual holiday in Switzerland, taking place on the first Thursday of April and commemorating the 1388 battle of Näfels. It involves processions, marching bands, and political speeches.  Okay, it's not a particularly strange holiday. But dudes: that name!

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2. Bonza Bottler Day: This Australian holiday is celebrated once a month when the number of the month coincides with the number of the day (April 4, May 5, June 6, etc.). It was created by Elaine Fremont in 1985 when she noticed there were no special occasions to celebrate one month. 'Bonza' is a word used by Australians to indicate when something is 'great,' and 'Bottler' is slang for 'something excellent.' The mascot is a dancing groundhog throwing confetti.

1. Saudi International Motor Show: The biggest motor show in the Middle East, held from December 6-10,  which features the latest models and equipment, and also includes stunt driving and "off-road experience." Whoa! There's actually a national holiday for gas guzzling in Saudi Arabia?



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