Summer has got to be the most vibrant of all seasons. The rising of the mercury and the desire to pack our bags and be on the road goes hand-in-hand, especially in summer and for good reasons we have Europe in mind. But just like all things good, summer too has its expiry date, so following are four slightly out of the ordinary summer festivals in Europe you can start planning for.
Secret Solstice, Iceland
In Reykjavik, it is really a midsummer night's dream with 96 hours of good music, fun and daylight. Yes, we are talking about the Secret Solstice festival that brings thousands of fans from all over the world for four days of great music from world-famous DJs and bands. Make most of the continuous daylight because at this festival you snooze, you lose! It is held annually during the summer solstice. Need a better reason to make plans for Iceland?
Phallus Festival, Greece
They call it 'Clean Monday' but it is far from it. In the little town of Tyrnavos, on the first monday of Lent, the townspeople celebrate fertility and life by celebrating everything phallic. The one-day festival reaches a frenzied stage where the locals grab visitors and passersby and make them kiss ceramic phallus and mark ash on their faces as a sign of participation which also frees them from repeating the procedure. Be warned because at the festival there are high chances of consuming phallus shaped food, drink from phallus shaped cups and straw or get hit by flying giant phalluses. It is one day, so far from conventional, when the entire town--men, women, children, old and young--come together and celebrate Dionysus, the Greek god of wine, madness and ecstasy.
Battle of the Oranges, Italy
You are probably aware of Spain's famous La Tomatina Festival (hint: Zindagi Na Milegi Doobara); now it's time to learn a little something about Italy's biggest food fight. Yes, you guessed it right--oranges, and very ripe ones at that. The festival is held in the city of Ivrea, commemorating the city's fight against one notorious city tyrant. According to the stories, this tyrant raped a young soon-to-be-married commoner who retaliated by decapitating him. Now, some say, throwing of oranges symbolises throwing of the tyrant's testicles. This is what we know, that this festival is big, it's fun and it's messy. Those who like to steer away from the gory story, like to think of oranges as a safer version of weapons and form two teams--tyrant ranks and commoners--and throw ripe oranges at each other. The re-enactment sure sounds fun! The festival takes place from Sunday to Tuesday preceding Ash Wednesday.
Mud Olympics, Germany
Every year on July 21, Brunsbüttel town in the district of Dithmarschen, northern Germany, gets dirty for a cause. The event is Mud Olympics and the cause is to help cancer patients. And while doing all these, they make sure to keep fun alive for which they have games like football, volleyball, handball and sledge racing (minus the traditional sledding in the snow). All proceeds from the sale of tickets and entry fees goes directly to the charity. You can either be a spectator or take part in the olympics (Germany and neighbouring countries), choice is yours. Either way you'll be contributing to a great cause.