The World’s 10 Most Dangerous Festivals

Is being terrified really that fun? The debate is on about which is crazier: attending these festive gatherings as a curious spectator or thrill-seeking participant.

If you’re looking for a pleasant, soothing distraction from the sometimes-cruel world we live in right now, we suggest you might want to avoid the events we’ve curated below.

If you like living life on the extreme edge, consider it a checklist for things you really need to see for yourself in order to get a full appreciation for how insane some of these festivals really are.

The Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake

Source: Michael Warren / Flickr

Chase after a 4 kilogram (9 pound) wheel of cheese? Sounds like fun. Except in this shindig, put on by the residents of the village of Brockworth, England, participants first have to throw themselves down a very steep (and lumpy) hill in pursuit. Of course, the cheese wheel gets a rolling head start, so barring anyone possessing super-human abilities, the wheel acts more like an edible projectile incentive for individuals to topple head over heels downwards.

Injuries are guaranteed; ambulance crews are set up at the finish line at the bottom of the hill, with the area hospital prepped for a busy couple of days. Teams of volunteers are also in place to stretcher those too decimated to finish the race under their own steam to waiting medical care.

The yearly event, held during England’s spring bank holiday in May, saw a record number of injuries occur in 1997 when 33 people needed medical attention for everything from bruises to broken bones.

Although cheese rolling (and of course the cheese chasing) has been Brockworth’s claim to fame since the 19th century, it was at one point canceled after the 2010 event amidst safety concerns. The following year it was back, unofficially organized, and is popular as ever — even if the race cheese is now made out of foam (that old-school wheel was a tangy bullet by the time it barreled over the finish line).

At least the winner gets the real cheese.

Sources: Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling, Quick! Follow that cheese!


Running of the Bulls

Source: / Flickr

Spain’s Running of the Bulls brings one million visitors yearly to Pamplona to view the kind of event that makes animal lovers cringe. For eight consecutive mornings, a group of 15 cows (including six bulls, or “encierros”) are unleashed onto an 850 meter (970 yard) route along Santa Domingo street. Individuals dressed in white adorned with the traditional Pañuelico red scarf run alongside the stampede, trying not to get trampled or gored.

As of 1974 women are allowed to run with the bulls, but one critical rule applies to anyone who wants to take part (along with them having to be over the age of 18): avoid the ample supplies of sangria consumed during the festival. You have to be stone cold sober to risk being speared by the horns of a bull. Also, hand over your cell phone to your next of kin before the race starts — there’s no picture-taking allowed by runners during the actual event.