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The best messy festivals for 2015

Published January 27th, 2015

Let’s face it. Growing up means less opportunities in your daily life to get messy. Mud play, flour fights and water balloon battles all become a thing of the past. If you yearn to run wild and let loose, tradition and culture are on your side. All around the world there’s plenty of festive events where you can throw stuff and have fun, all in the name of travel experience. Here’s our fave messy festivals to check out in 2015.

 

 

Battaglia delle Arance

Where? Ivrea, Italy

When? February 14 to 15, 2015

What’s it about? Not to be outdone by La Tomatina's flying tomatoes, the more sadistic folk of Ivrea in Northern Italy hold the Battle of the Oranges in honour of a 12th-century uprising of commoners against the nobility. The townspeople are divided into nine squads and pelt oranges from balconies and streets.

What to wear: The citrus combatants wear helmets and armour, not just to hark back to the festival’s medieval roots, but for protection – flying oranges pack a punch!

 

Galaxidi Flour War

Where? Galaxidi, Greece

When? February 23, 2015

What’s it about? To mark the first day of Orthodox Lent in Greece, ironically known as ‘Clean Monday’, residents of Galaxidi (around 240 kilometres west of Athens) take to the streets to stage an annual flour war where locals and visitors pelt each other with coloured flour.

What to wear: The dyes from the flour will stain your clothes, so avoid black and anything you want to wear again. Costumes are a popular option. A surgical mask is also a good idea.

 

 

 

Holi

Where? Northern India and other states

When? March 6 to 7, 2015

What’s it about? One of the most iconic Indian festivals, what was once a Hindu event celebrating the spring harvest, Holi is now embraced by locals and tourists in most areas of the subcontinent. Multicoloured powders mix with water balloons and spray guns for awesome photo ops.

What to wear: Wear white for the best psychedelic colour effect and bring something to cover your eyes and mouth.

 

 

Songkran

Where? Thailand

When? April 13 to 15, 2015

What’s it about? Songkran is the Thai Buddhist New Year celebration involving water where everyone and their elephant gets in on the good, clean fun. Held all over Thailand in the hot season, Bangkok has the biggest water fights with residents and tourists wielding buckets, water guns and even hoses.

What to wear: Waterproof clothes and your swimmers. Don’t forget to protect your camera with a waterproof case too!

 

Batalla del Vino

Where? Haro & Rioja, Spain

When? June 29, 2015

What’s it about? Where wine flows freely, there’s guaranteed good times, right? How about 50,000 litres of red vino? The Wine War has been held in the Spanish towns of Haro and Rioja since 1710 where everyone red wine is thrown about with abandon. Look out for the water cannons!

What to wear: White attire is popular to best show off those red wine stains, but covering up with a waterproof poncho is also OK.  See Busabout for festival tours to Batalla del Vino.

 

 

Boryeong Mud Festival

Where? Boryeong, South Korea

When? July 17 to 26, 2015

What’s it about? A relatively new event, Boreyeong Mud Festival has been happening at Daecheon Beach in the city of Boryeong since 1999. The mud is said to have curative and cosmetic attributes, but really, everyone is just there to sling some mud, massage some mud or mud wrestle.

What to wear: It’s summertime, you’re at the beach, you’re going to get messy – just wear your swimmers and bring clean clothes for the trip back to Seoul.

 

 

La Tomatina

Where? Buñol, Spain

When? August 26, 2015

What’s it about? One of the most famous messy festivals, Spain’s La Tomatina sees 130,000 kilograms of overripe tomatoes hurled in the streets of Buñol until the ground is covered in a thick, red squelchy mess - as are all the participants! Topdeck and Busabout have tours to La Tomatina.

What to wear: White clothing is a popular option to best show your tomato battle scars. Make sure you have swimmers on underneath – t-shirt ripping will happen.

 

 

Punkin Chunkin

Where? Delaware, USA

When? November 6 to 8, 2015

What’s it about? Ever wanted to know how far you can throw a pumpkin? The World Championship Punkin Chunkin dares to find out. Over 20,000 people watch teams with homemade catapults jettison pumpkins into the air, vying to beat the current record – 1.4 kilometres.

What to wear: The pumpkin gets smashed, obvs, but spectators stay clean – go for farm chic or carnie couture suitable for fall weather.

 

Cassandra Laffey

Consumed with unrequited wanderlust, I get my fix in 24/7 cities and hippie retreats. I'm still looking for the ultimate combo of secluded beach and major metropolis, and my happy place is a 5-star hotel room all to myself - sigh.