Humans are habitual creatures and sometimes this tendency can generate bizarre customs that hundreds upon thousands of people participate in each year. Considering the likelihood of other intelligent life in the universe, if they observed the following annual traditions, it's no wonder they haven’t made contact. They’re too busy cackling at us from a distance, some light-years away.
The World Fraternity of Knights of the Giant Omelette is a group that exists in Belgium. Indeed, you read that correctly. King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, eat your hearts out. Now, these guys have a yearly tradition of making a colossal motherflipping omelette and they’ve kept this up for 22 years and counting. However, due to an egg contamination scare this year’s efforts involved cooking 10,000 eggs in a pan that spanned four metres in width. That is a metric shit tonne, which is the technical measurement.
The World Bog Snorkelling Championship has occurred every year in the Waen Rhydd peat bog near Llanwrtyd Wells in mid-Wales since 1985. Neil Rutter took out the title most recently with the fastest time recorded, after swimming a total distance of around 110 metres through the marshy environment, wearing a mask, snorkel and flippers. He doggy paddled his way to victory in 1 minute and 26 seconds. What a mighty, mighty good man.
The most extensive tomato fight in the known universe – La Tomatina, the annual Tomato Throwing Festival, held in the Valencian town of Buñol, Spain. It is held on the last Wednesday of August, during the week of festivities of Buñol. The partakers forcefully hurl tomatoes at one another and involve themselves purely for sadistic purposes as there is no possible way to identify a champion when all you can see is red.
There is a selection of popular duck races held around the globe. In these events, individuals procure a rubber duck and deface it by tagging their name. Then all the ducks are tossed into the river, and the first duck across the line downstream is the ultimate victor. The cash raised from selling the ducks goes to charities. The Great Singapore Duck Race is one of the largest, with 85,000 imitation waterfowl taking to the Singapore River, raising in excess of $1 million for local charities. In September 2007, The Great British Duck Race on the River Thames smashed the Guinness World Record for the 'World's Biggest Charity Duck Race,' with 165,000 ducks, thrashing the previous record by the Singapore Event which saw 123,500 ducks compete in 2001.
Photo: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images courtesy of The Guardian
And of course, we must give an honourable mention to The Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake held annually near Gloucester in England on the Spring Bank Holiday. Essentially a bunch of dairy enthusiasts gather from across the world and roll wheels of cheese down a grassy knoll and then attempt to chase it, which usually ends in people literally rolling down the hill after it. The event takes its name from the hill on which it is held. Until recent years, it was managed in a quasi-official manner, but since 2010 the event has taken place spontaneously without any administrative powers. It would be a lactose intolerant person’s worst nightmare.