Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Don't worry. Be happy.

2011 had plenty of uncertainty, conflict and turmoil, but the indomitable human spirit shone through in countless ways, proving yet again that dark days may not be allowed to interfere with a good festival.
• Brazil overtook the UK as the world's sixth largest economy. As this was occurring, residents of the UK were immersed in the Bottle Kicking and Hare Pie Festival, the World Bog Snorkelling Championships, and the Stinging Nettle Eating Championships.

• Spain's economic prospects turned worrisome in 2011, but this did not deter residents of the town of Ibi from dressing in mock military uniforms and pelting each other with flour, eggs and fireworks in the annual Els Enfarinats festival, or jumping over babies in El Colacho

• Japan suffered an earthquake, a tsunami and a nuclear meltdown, but the annual fertility festival Kanamara Matsuri went off with it's usual gusto. The festival revolves around giant penises created from every possible object.

• Drug wars, poverty, hunger --- nothing stops La Noche de los Rabanos (Night of the Radishes) in Mexico, which features elaborate sculptures made from the prized vegetable.

• Finland's problems include widespread alcoholism and one of the highest suicide rates, but spirits brighten during the Wife Carrying World Championships.

• Turkey has problems with Kurdish separatists, was rejected for membership in the European Union, and is on the outs with Israel. But it still dominates the world in Camel Wrestling, a weekly feature in many villages and towns during the winter.

• It wasn't the best of years in the U.S. either, what with gridlock in Washington, a bunch of natural disasters, and a tanking economy. Nonetheless, Americans got on with the World's Largest Rattlesnake Roundup, the Combine Demolition Derby, the Turkey Testicle Festival, and Frozen Dead Guy Days.

• On the not-too-good to not-too-bad scale used by Canadians to measure everything, 2011 was middling, so we blew off steam at the Giant Omelette Get-Together in Granby. Yep, while the rest of the world celebrates by throwing things, smashing into each other, blowing stuff up, running from large animals, creating extreme art from vegetables, and worshiping huge sex organs, we mad fools play fast and loose with our cholesterol count.
Play on.

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