Top 10 World’s Most Dangerous Festivals


If you’re a thrill seeker, here are 10 unique and exciting festivals from around the world that are also considered to be the most dangerous festivals in the world:

10. La Tomatina, Spain

most dangerous festivals

Tens of thousands of people gather in Buñol, a town located in the East of Spain 30 kilometers from the Mediterranean –  for the mother of all food fights.

Held every year on the last Wednesday of August, more than 100,000 kilograms of over-ripe tomatoes are thrown throughout the streets during this festival purely for entertainment purposes.

Usually, the fight lasts for an hour, after which the town square is literally covered with tomato debris. In 2015, it was estimated that almost 145000 kg of tomatoes were thrown.

9. Battle of the Oranges, Italy

most dangerous festivals

The Battle of the Oranges is a festival in the Northern Italian city of Ivrea, which includes a tradition of throwing of oranges between organized groups. This festival uses fruit-based warfare to symbolize the medieval battle between the nobility and the people. The battle of oranges involves around half a million kilograms of oranges every year.

8. Hadaka Festival, Japan

most dangerous festivals

The Hadaka Matsuri, or Naked Festival, was made famous by the massive midnight celebration in Saidai-ji, the largest in Japan. Their Hadaka Matsuri features nearly 10,000 (only) men and boys in loincloth grappling over the pair of sacred sticks.

At midnight, the men compete over a pair of sacred sticks and other fortune items in the hopes they will be blessed with a year of happiness.

7. Takeuchi Festival, Japan

most dangerous festivals

The Takeuchi Festival (Takeuchi Matsuri) is held every February in the former town of Rokugo (now part of Misato), Japan. It is considered to be one of the world’s most dangerous festivals.

In this event, all participants are equipped with 20-foot long bamboo poles which they use to hit members of the opposing team. The battle is played over three rounds, with the stakes raised in the final round when the poles are set alight by a bonfire.

Although most fighters wear protection, there is always an ambulance on hand to deal with any injuries, which inevitably occur each year. Police officers are also present to make sure the situation doesn’t get out of hand.

6. Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake, England

most dangerous festivals

The Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake is an annual event held on the Spring Bank Holiday at Cooper’s Hill, near Gloucester in England.

In this event, from the top of the hill, a 9 pounds round of Double Gloucester cheese is sent rolling down the hill, and competitors then start racing down the hill after it. The first person over the finish line at the bottom of the hill wins the cheese.

Due to the steepness and uneven surface of Cooper’s Hill, there are usually a number of injuries each year. A number of ambulance vehicles attend the event since there is invariably at least one, and often several injuries requiring hospital treatment.

5. Takanakuy, Peru

most dangerous festivals

The Takanakuy festival, which takes place on December 25th every year in the town of Santo Tomas, involved large numbers of participants punching-on in an attempt to settle old scores and conflicts from the past year.

Takanakuy – which means “to hit each other” –  has its roots in the indigenous pre-Christian traditions of the Chumbivilcas province of Peru, but in recent years it has spread more widely across Peru.

Participants generally dress in traditional Andean outfits. Kicking and punching are allowed but biting and hair-pulling are not. To keep the proceedings from going out of control, the referees carry whips.

4. El Colacho, Spain

most dangerous festivals

In this festival, held in the Spanish village of Castrillo de Murcia, men dressed as the devil jump over babies born in the past year, who lie on mattresses in the street. The ritual supposedly dispels the children’s original sin – and to mark the Catholic feast of Corpus Christi. Luckily, there have not been any serious injuries to babies in the festival’s history.

3. Yanshui Beehive Rockets Festival, Taiwan

most dangerous festivals

The Yanshui Beehive Rockets is a folk religious event that originated Yanshui district in Tainan City. The event starts on the 15th day of the 1st lunar month of the Chinese Lantern Festival.

In this festival, people make custom rocket towers and then firecrackers are set off from these towers among a crowd of spectators with a belief that being bombed by the firecrackers wards off bad luck.

Participants are required to wear protective gear to avoid any harm. This includes a full face helmet, a scarf around their neck, a jacket, long pants, gloves, and sneakers.

2. Mihashira Festival, Japan

most dangerous festivals

The Mihashira or Onbashira is one of Japan’s most unique, dangerous and exciting festivals. Held once every six years in the month of April and May, the Suwa area holds the Mihashira festival.

Huge logs are selected for the event from trees in mountain forests in the Lake Suwa region and transported by hand to the smaller shrines of Suwa Taisha. Part of the journey includes Kiotoshi (the pillar riding ceremony), where local men climb aboard the logs and endeavor to stay on as they slide down the steep mountainside, to prove their bravery.

The logs are usually about 20 meters long and weigh as much as 12 tonnes, and the entire journey is about 10 kilometers long, which include steep mountains and river crossings. Numerous Injuries and deaths have occurred during the festival in past years, though being killed by one of the trees is considered to be an honorable death.

1. Running of the Bulls, Spain

most dangerous festivals

The Running of the Bulls is an annual festival that involves running in front of a small group of bulls. Thousands of young people risk their lives each year at the running of the bulls festival in Pamplona, Spain, which kicked off from July 6th to 14th every year.

The event starts at 8:00 am, when the human runners sprint down (half-mile) running course through the streets of the city center immediately followed by six charging bulls.

Hundreds of people are injured each year – usually from falling to the ground in the commotion – while more than a dozen are believed to have died since record-keeping began. More than half of the participants are tourists and young men often participate to demonstrate their bravery.