Unusual but visited manifestations and celebrations devoted to animals have been organized for years all around the world. Some of them are a part of a tradition or culture of certain country, and some of them have already become real tourist attractions.
Huge Monkey Buffet Festival in Thailand
This great feast-like festival is held in the Lopburi province (Bangkok) in Thailand. It is quite unique and traditional festival, organized in honor of god of monkeys – Hanuman. Hence, it is a real festive feast for all primates. About 3000 primates attend this festival, and in front of the Hanuman's temple (which was built 10 centuries ago) there are 4000 kilograms of different foods – mostly fruits and vegetables, but there are sweets too, are set on the huge tables.
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During this time, many people gather to see primates from the neighborhood eating, there are even lots of tourist who come from all over the world to see this unique event. The spectators are advised not to come too close, since the monkeys could “attack” them – take their food or money if they have some. Watching monkeys eat is not the only activity on this festival. Some others are more human-interactive and include dancing and playing with primates that got used to human presence.
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Swiss Cow Parade
Since the first rays of Sun and the warmer weather, the Swiss take their cows to the Alps on pasture. In the late September when it's getting colder and rainy, the cows are coming back to the valleys to spend the winter there. This descending is Swiss Cow Parade in other words or Alpabfahrt in German. This is also a tradition which became a tourist attraction, just like Monkey Buffet Festival. Traditionally the cows are adorned with flowers, their shepherds wear national clothing and their return is celebrated with music, dance and cheese made during the summer months.
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The onlookers in every town and village on the path of the returning cows wait impatiently for the parade and for that purpose there is a kind of market with cow products and even wursts and bakery goods. While waiting they all gather and have fun – pony rides are organized for kids, etc. After the cows and the farmers go through a town or village, the party doesn't stop. The people then dance with their national music, have lunch and stay on the street until dark. Besides this, there is a tradition of choosing a Cow Queen in the town of Vale.
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Pushkar Camel Fair
This Fair or Festival is the biggest exhibition of camels in the world at the same time. It is held in India, as you could've guessed, and about 50 000 visitors attends the fair during 5 days in November every year. It had originally been organized so that people would buy and sell their livestock (not only camels, but sheep, cows and goats), but as every other festival became a tourist attraction.
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You can visit their website for more info about attractions, happenings and organized competitions. During the time of the Fair, men and women are all dressed up, dancing with the music, there is also a camel race and all the camels are dressed up, too. Pushkar lake is located near the place of the Fair, which is believed to be “touched” by the Hindu god Brahma, so many visitors like to swim in its sacred water.
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Elephant Polo Festival in Thailand
Obviously, Thailand is home of many unusual but popular animal festivals. This strange tournament also called The King's Cup Elephant Polo Tournament, where the players ride elephants instead of horses, was first organized in 1980 in the city of Hua Hin. During the ceremony players, dressed in traditional clothes, parade on elephants along the streets of the city.
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This manifestation is of humanitarian character since all the money given for the tournament is then given to improve the conditions elephants live in. The funds collected come to around 1 million dollars every year and are also given for elephant ambulance and the first in the world therapy program. All the elephants that take part in King's Polo Tournament are domestically breed and chipped. Thai Elephant Conservation Center (TECC) is taking care of them before, during and after the tournament. You can find more information on their website.
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Annual Sheep Parade in Madrid
Around 2000 merino sheep is parading through Madrid every year in late October or early November. Strange but true and it lasts from the late 13th century! The whole thing back then was an uprising of farmers to be granted the path through the (now) capital city from field to field or woodland. Those are so called livestock pathways, which are now legally about 125 thousand kilometers through all parts of Spain.
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This wooly parade is not consisted of sheep only, there are other kinds of stock and they are always followed by sheepdogs and shepherds. Up to now the parade included around one million animals. On the day of the parade people come out and get on the streets to see the animals and have fun in their own way. Of course, there are policemen who take care about the order on the streets.
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