Football season is on and that means you’ll probably go to a tailgate party or two! What if, while enjoying a healthier tailgating experience, you come across first-timers that are still struggling to understand how tailgating is ‘a thing’? You might be used to it, but for the rest of the world, it’s a uniquely American experience! So, be a good host and get these rookies up to speed on all the good things tailgate parties have to offer, and if you’re lucky, they might tell you about their own traditions back home!
Here’s some crazy-interesting (or just plain crazy!) traditions from other countries; like tailgating, they might seem odd to foreigners…but they’re surely just as fun!
Līgo and Jāņi (Latvia)
The annual Latvian celebration of the summer solstice is celebrated in a big, big way in Latvia. And it’s not really a complicated affair: wreaths or garlands of oak leaves and flowers worn on the head, dancing and jumping over huge bonfires, and lots and lots of beer and homemade cheese…the main thing is staying awake to greet the morning sun! This friendly celebration is a mix of different pagan customs and beliefs that has also become one of the most celebrated dates in Latvia, so plan ahead and give it a go!
The Grape Harvest National Festival (Argentina)
The Fiesta Nacional de la Vendimia (or the Grape Harvest National Festival) in Mendoza, Argentina, is a world-renowned, traditional holiday celebrating the transformation of grape into (YUM) wine! The celebration includes a solemn, religious act that marks the official beginning, when the grapes are blessed by a Catholic archbishop on the last Sunday of February…But things pick up on the first Friday of March, where the big celebrations (including float parades, partying, and of course, copious amounts of wine) begin in earnest! Remember though: If you are currently on your phentermine treatment, you might want to think twice before indulging in alcohol.
The Onbashira Matsuri, or ‘Honored Pillars Festival’ is held every six years in the Lake Suwa area of the Nagano Prefecture, in Japan. Also known as one of the most dangerous festivals in the world, rivaling the San Fermín running of the bulls in potential fatalities, it’s celebrated by felling sixteen fir trees to use them as ‘honored pillars’ and symbolically restoring four shrine buildings (Suwa Grand Shrine). It is also a celebration of sheer manliness: the dangerous “Kiotoshi”, or riding a 10-ton log down a hill like a sled, hoping not to be crushed, is one of the main highlights of this celebration. Any man able to ride it all the way to the bottom without falling is crowned that year’s “hero”. In case you decide to participate, here’s some tips to resume workouts if you survive the festival.
Russefeiring (Russ celebration) – Norway
From it’s humble origins as the commemoration of the introduction of red “russ” caps (russelue) to graduation celebrations to indicate the imminent acceptance into systems of higher education, the Russefeiring has become a national holiday and full-blown, 3-week party binge for Norwegian teenagers graduating from high-school. This rite of passage into adulthood is known for the color-coded uniforms worn by seniors, the ‘party buses’ (russ vehicles) sporting complex, excessive sound systems and sometimes even bars and flat screens, and the three-week partying most students engage in, before they graduate into the next stage of their lives (adulthood and higher education).
Ati-Atihan (The Philippines)
Known by some as ‘the Mardi Gras’ of the Philippines, this national holiday predates the well-known carnival celebration by a few centuries. Originally born out of respect and gratitude from one tribe of settlers seeking refuge (the Datus) to the Ati, the people inhabiting the Panay Island (Ati-Atihan means ‘to be like Atis’), the celebration has become religious, adopting elements of Christian religion with Animism and ancient tagalog faith. It now is a colorful, week-long celebration of parades, masses and processions culminating in a weekend party of dancing, feasting and fun! You might want to cover your bases and learn some tips on avoiding vacation weight gain if you plan on visiting!
As you can see, there’s a wealth of traditional celebrations out there; they might look weird to you (as tailgating parties surely do for visitors to the U.S.!) but beyond all the differences, the important part is this: the things they have in common—celebrating our life and our passions; bonding with family, neighbors and strangers; and having a really good, fun time! Be sure to check out other crazy, offbeat holidays and vacation ideas, but if you’re headed to the parking lot of your home team stadium, read some of our suggestions for a healthier tailgating celebration of our American pastimes!