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If you’ve attended music festivals like Lollapalooza in Chicago or Bonnaroo in Tennessee during a rain storm, then you’ve seen a perfectly celebratory setting get messy very quickly. (So. Much. Mud.) It can be a major buzzkill to your weekend. But a sloppy festival environment isn’t that big of a deal when it’s exactly what you signed up for. At these events—some of the messiest festivals in the world—a little grime and untidiness is encouraged.

Related: Check out the world’s most unusual ice cream flavors

La Tomatina Festival: Bunol, Spain
Held on the last Wednesday of August, barley clothed participants storm the streets of the Valencian town of Bunol to throw more than 150,000 tomatoes at each other—talk about painting the town red. If you find yourself taking part, remember to squash your tomatoes before throwing them to help avoid any injuries.

Tomatino Festival, Spain

Photo: “Tomatina 2006” by Graham McLellan from London, UK | Wiki Commons

Holi Festival: India
This colorful festival celebrates the beginning of spring in India and Nepal. Festival-goers say goodbye to winter by tossing brightly colored powder and water on each other while dancingand singing. Can’t make it to India? Similar Holi festivals take place each spring in major cities like New York and Berlin.


Boryeong Mud Festival: Boryeong, South Korea
Mud is a major ingredient in a variety of skincare products (mud masks, anyone?), so in 1998 a South Korean cosmetics company celebrated this fact by organizing a mud fest. The event now attracts more than 2.6 million visitors who descend upon the city every July to partake in messy activities like mud flights, mud slides, mud wrestling, mud baths and more.


LaBatalla de Vino de Haro (Wine Fight of Haro): Haro, Spain
Wine lovers might flinch at this set-up: Every year at the end of June, locals and a few tourists march up a mountain in La Rioja, Spain with a bunch of wine—but instead of drinking it, they spray and splash it on each other. The festivities last until around 5am the next day, when everyone is completely soaked in the red stuff.

World Bodypainting Festival: Poertschach, Austria
For almost 20 years now, artists from around the world gather each July in tiny Poertschach to compete for world championship titles in body painting. The week-long festival features hundreds of models being painted live on-site, and many visitors partake, too. Just be careful about where you sitafter a bodypainting session.


Photo Credit: Guenter-Floeck

International Pillow Fight Day: Worldwide
As part of the Urban Playground Movement (where artists do interesting things in public spaces), this “holiday” celebrates the art of pillow fighting. Groups in a variety of cities (ranging from Salt Lake City to Madrid and Shanghai to Cincinnati) gather in public parks for a massive—and friendly—pillow fight. If you see a lot of feathers floating in the air on April 2, this is why.

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Kevin Aeh

Kevin Aeh

Kevin Aeh is an editor/writer based in New York City. He covers lifestyle, travel, and pop culture; and his current obsessions include finding the best eye cream, booking a trip to Cuba, and binge-watching Lady Dynamite on Netflix. His writing has appeared in Time Out New York, Furthermore from Equinox, Refinery29, Vulture, and more.

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