Even if you’ve lived most of your life in America, you still know a thing or two about a good festival. Americans have crazy celebrations and conventions for all kinds of things— comic books, wrestling, movies, holidays, you name it. America commercializes, bottles, and sells it for all kinds of money to make as much as possible while all of the participants get in on the action and do their best to be a part of whatever they’re celebrating. Be it cosplay, dressing up as their favorite character or just enjoying a parade of giant balloons traversing the Manhattan landscape.
As we all know, festival fun is not just a construct of American commercialism, a good party is an idea the world over can get into it. Asia and all of her countries have the advantage of traditions and history that sometimes predate the Gregorian calendar. Whether it is because of, or in spite of, the fact that some festivals could seem downright mean or inhumane to outsiders, some others seem like just good old fashion fun. No matter the reasons for celebrating, all corners of Asia know how to have a good time, no matter how wild the celebration seems. Here are the 15 weirdest and grossest Asian Festivals.
15. DRESS UP THE CORPSES FESTIVAL (INDONESIA)
On the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, the people have a ritual there that puts Halloween, Dia de los Muertos, and The Walking Dead to shame! Every three years, the Ma’nene Festival takes place in the region. The Torajan people who live there celebrate life… by digging it up! They dig up their loved ones, clean them, and dress them in their favorite clothes. The celebration dates back at least 100 years and was supposedly started by a hunter named Pong Rumasek, who stumbled upon a corpse abandoned under a tree. So he dressed the corpse in his own clothes gave it a proper burial and believed he was blessed with good fortune. For the celebration, families save their money to give their loved ones a grand and proper burial. The corpses are also wrapped very carefully to prevent decay. Another part of the festival is the coffins themselves are cleaned and repaired as well, the dead are treated with great care. The Torajan believe that death is not the end of a journey but just another step in eternal life.
14. LYNCHEE AND DOG MEAT FESTIVAL (CHINA)
Out of all the festivals on this list, only one elicits general condemnation is Guangxi province, China’s Lynchee and Dog Meat festival. For people with twisted senses of humor who like to joke that you’re eating cats and dogs when eating Chinese food, this festival makes the bad joke real. Taking place in Yulin since 2009, but eating dog meat has been a practice in China for nearly 500 years. The festival means that at least 10,000 dogs and cats will be slaughtered and then cooked and eaten in a variety of ways for 10 days. Officials in China have denounced the festival, it might be legal to eat dog but the festival, which often times has seemingly also nabbed people’s pets (as evidenced by dog collars found around the festival), the Dog Meat Festival is not indicative of Chinese culture or heritage. Despite claims that the dogs are killed humanely, the festival has protests from all walks of life including celebrities like Matt Damon and one Chinese woman who purchased several dogs, saving their lives and bringing them home.