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WONDERS OF THE WORLD; Wacky events to try before it's too late..

Byline: MIRROR REPORTER

THEY'RE the amazing annual events that could turn your next holiday into a once in a lifetime experience.

Publisher David Vermeulen has compiled a new book, Sullivan's List: The 100 Most Amazing Events In The World, also available as an iPhone and iPad app.

They range from Scotland's Up Helly Aa - when the people of Lerwick dress as Viking warriors before setting fire to a replica Viking ship - to Roswell, New Mexico's UFO festival where enthusiasts dress as aliens.

The list is named after Roy C Sullivan (1912-1983), a park ranger in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, USA.

During his life Roy was struck seven times by lightning - firstly in 1942, when he was hiding from a storm in a fire lookout tower.

It burned a half-inch strip all along his right leg and left a hole in his shoe, but he survived. The other six times he was hit by lightning he also withstood his injuries.

On September 28, 1983, he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound over an unrequited love.

Here are just some of the events that make the Top 100.

JANUARY: Up Helly Aa - Lerwick, Shetland Islands, Scotland. The day and all-nighter when Shetland islanders celebrate their Norwegian heritage. Thousands of men parade through the streets in costumes led by the man of the day, Guizer Jarl. For more information, visit www.uphellyaa.org

FEBRUARY: Hadaka Matsuri - Saidaiji Temple, Okayama, Japan.

Hadaka Matsuri is part of the original Japanese religion, Shinto, and involves men, wearing only loin cloths known as fundoshi, who spend hours running through the streets being drenched in water by spectators before fighting over sacred sticks for luck.

MARCH: Las Fallas - Valencia, Spain. Disneyland meets Salvador Dali at this giant street party that lasts five days and is centred on the creation and burning of giant fallas, towering constructions made of wood, wax, papier-mache and plaster.

APRIL: Songkran - Thailand. Songkran is the Thai new year and it means three days of craziness, when anyone who steps outside risks being sprayed with water and white lime powder.

MAY: Tinku - Bolivia. The more blood the better as Bolivians fist fight, with some wrapping their fists with strips of cloth studded with glass. These days police check for guns.

JUNE: El Colacho - Castrillo de Murcia, Spain. Ongoing since 1620, it's a bit like a steeplechase only it's adults who leap over mattresses full of babies. Unlikely to catch on here due to health and safety concerns.

JULY: Redneck Games - East Dublin, Georgia, USA. Toilet-seat throwing, bobbing for uncooked pig legs, flipping cigarettes and mud pit belly flops - just make sure your mullet is in shape for this one.

AUGUST: La Tomatina - Bunol, Spain. For exactly one hour, 50,000 people pelt each other with more than 100,000 tons of crushed tomatoes. Witnessing the tomato war without participating is not easy.

SEPTEMBER: Burning Man - Black Rock Desert, Nevada, USA.

Frolic around in the desert for eight days wearing nothing but a thong and a windmill on your head. And make sure you see the burning of a 20m high statue on the last night.

OCTOBER: Angola Rodeo - Angola Prison, Louisiana, USA. Witnessing how men convicted for life ride a bull for the first time, without being allowed to practise, is a great day out run by Angola Prison. Included is convict poker - when a bull is released into the arena, the last man standing is the winner.

NOVEMBER: Loy Krathong - Thailand. Nails, hair, flakes of skin... put them all into a floating krathong, push it into the water and you will be relieved of the things you don't like about yourself.

DECEMBER: Noche de los Rabanos - Oaxaca, Mexico. At Noche de los Rabanos, radishes are transformed into artistic masterpieces. Just don't try to eat the art. They are grown with chemicals to make them gigantic and are purely for show.

CAPTION(S):

YEE HAW Taking time out from the mud-flip belly-flop contest at the Redneck Games MAD MIX Baby-jumping, a Viking at the Up Helly Aa and getting wet while celebrating the Songkran
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Title Annotation:Editorial; Opinion, Leading articles
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 14, 2011
Words:679
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