5 Frightening Festivals Around the World

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There are so many frightening and just downright bizarre festivals around the world. While most of us know about and love halloween, there are countless countries that have their own weird and whacky festivals. While travel is mostly on hold, I love learning about interesting things around the world. Maybe you’ll add a few of these strange festivals and celebrations to your bucket list? Here are 5 frightening festivals around the world you might not know about:

1. Obon – Japan
This is commonly referred to as “The Japanese Day of the Dead,” Obon is a way to celebrate family members and loved ones who have passed away. During this time many people return to their hometowns, flocking from the cities to smaller towns, to be with their families. If you’re planning to travel to Japan for Obon, then one of the best places to go to experience this festival is Kyoto where there are numerous bonfires lit overlooking the city. It’s believed that the light of the fires will guide those that have passed on back to be with their loved ones. This festival occurs in mid August and there are also laterns during this festival making it a beautiful night time sight.

2. Famadihana – Madagascar
This is a celebration that only happens once every 7 years, and is called the “turning of the bones.” While it definitely sounds creepy, it’s an important tradition where the bones of their loved ones are wrapped in fresh cloths. There’s a lot of celebration that goes on alongside it, with music, dancing and lots of delicious food. This is a private event that is for family only, so not something that would be easy to experience as a tourist, but it definitely deserves a place on the list of frightening festivals around the world.

3. Busó Carnival – Hungary
This is a festival that’s designed to ‘scare’ away the bad weather and as a way to welcome the warmer months of spring. This festival takes place in the Hungarian town called Mohács, and features horned and hairy devils, called Busós, that involves lots of singing and dancing. This six day long festival also includes the burning of a coffin. I personally think the devil outfits are some of the creepiest I’ve ever seen!

4. The Krampus Parade – Austria
Instead of the cute Santa Claus many of us growing up knowing, in Austria there’s a terrifying man called Krampus. In December there’s a parade that celebrates just how scary he is. Krampus is often pictured as being half goat and half human, just adding to the frightening nature of this festival.

5. La Quema del Diablo – Guatemala
On the 7th of December each year in a small town in Guatemala called Antigua, there’s a festival called La Quema del Diablo, which means literally in English “the burning of the devil.” It’s quite an interesting sight to see – a piñata devil is burned to cleanse homes of evil. Across the country there are an estimated 500,000 other bonfires across the country, but the celebration in Antigua is the most famous. You’ll see vendors selling traditional food and drinks around the burning.


Interested in learning more about other weird festivals around the world? Check out the great infographic below.

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