Time for a holiday? Feast your eyes on these stunning spring spectacles. Here are 5 wacky European traditions that you’ll never forget!
Las Fallas Valencia, Spain
Our first European tradition takes place every year in the city of Valencia, Spain. Each neighbourhood comes together to build a ‘Casal Faller’ for the festival of Saint Joseph every year. This is an enormous figurine which can take all year to build, and, after a week of festivities, the Casal Faller is burnt in a spectacular manner (an event named La Cremà). Those considered the most impressive are ‘saved’ by voters and kept in the ‘Fallas’ museum.
Chios Rocket War Vrontados, Greece (Rouketopolemos in Greek)
This event takes place annually on the night before Easter Sunday. Two rival churches on the Island of Chios in Greece shoot homemade ‘rockets’ at each other. The origin of this eccentric, spectacular and rather dangerous tradition is unclear. Everyone gathers to support a side, and cheer when the rockets manage to hit the bell or clock tower.
Beltane Fire Festival Edinburgh, Scotland
30 April 2017
The origins of this diabolic festival lie in Gaelic tradition, originally to celebrate the imminent arrival of summer. The night-time performance is a narrative involving the Queen of May and a mixture of dancing and fire related performers who either help or try to stop the progress of the procession through the city. It is one of the most impressive European traditions.
Rhine in Flames Various locations, Germany
6 May – 19 September 2017
During spring and summer, the river Rhine is host to an array of pyrotechnical displays, starting in the town of Bonn in May, with the final event taking place in St. Goarshausen in September. You have the option to board an illuminated boat to enjoy the spectacle, or you can stay on the riverbanks where the boats themselves add to the scenery. Stop off at Bonn for the most impressive of these displays.
Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling Brockworth, England
29 May 2017
This peculiar event gains popularity every year, as well a fresh set of injured participants. Contestants in this crazy European tradition must run down this steep hill after a wheel of cheese, and the winner is the one who manages to catch it first. While some say the tradition comes from an ancient custom that welcomes in the warmer weather, the origin of cheese rolling remains unclear. Even so, many do themselves damage in trying to win this delicious roll of Double Gloucester cheese. It may not be a beautiful spectacle to behold, but it is most certainly bizarre and entertaining.
Are you planning a spring escape? What events would recommend?