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The local Chinese community in Thailand belief that abstinence from meat and various stimulants, during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar, will help them obtain good health and peace of mind. They celebrate the vegetarian festival by piercing their own meat and setting of fire crackers. Devotees of the Bang Neow Chinese Shrine walk through exploding firecrackers as they take part in a procession in celebration of the vegetarian festival in Phuket October 2, 2011. The festival celebrates the local Chinese community's belief that abstinence from meat and various stimulants,during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar, will help them obtain good health and peace of mind. A devotee goes into a trance as he takes part in a procession in celebration of the vegetarian festival in Phuket October 2, 2011. A devotee runs on burning charcoals as he performs the fire walking ceremony, during celebrations for the vegetarian festival.

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They are a nation famed for efficiency and cleanliness. And it seems that those traits even apply to the campsite at one of their most famous international events. This was the scene at the campsite at Oktoberfest yesterday as lines of tents were neatly pitched in rows for use by festival-goers. It is marked contrast to British events such as Glastonbury, where every conceivable inch of ground is covered by a canvas city. However how long the tents remain in such neat and tidy rows remains to be seen - as the beer festival got into full swing yesterday. And for anybody concerned that Europe's biggest drink festival would run out of beer, they need not worry. Organisers at the festival have now installed oil pipeline technology to keep the pints flowing. The 1,000ft long pipeline runs underground to the main tent at the Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, which can hold 8,400 thirsty punters in one sitting. Brewers have plumbed in the pipe to stop bar staff worrying about when the barrels of ale are about to run out. The festival runs for over two weeks, and is expected to attract over six million visitors and seven million litres of beer will be drunk. Pipeline technician Uwe Daebel led a trial beer run with a group of willing helpers and described it as a 'great success.' He added: 'We filled the glasses of everyone, but, sadly, the rest went down the drain because we couldn't leave it in the pipeline.' The pipeline is not the only innovation introduced this year by the organisers who are also catering for couples feeling amorous after a few frothy lagers. Special soundproofed 'bonk-boxes' have been set up on the nearby camp site where they can canoodle in private. The converted containers include a double bed, soft lighting and layers of sound-deadening insulation which mean other guests on the site won't be disturbed. 'They're a great idea because lots of people who come to Oktoberfest end up camping and tents are a terrible place to get intimate,' said one festival fan.

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view Trust The Germans To Regiment Tents At A Beer Festival! Oktoberfest Gets Underway as presented by: Daily Mail Online


Summer weather brings people together outside to enjoy music festivals, county fairs, carnivals and religious observations. I've gathered here some recent images of these celebrations, including a flaming horseman in Kyrgyzstan, Bastille Day in France, a German fun park inside a former nuclear power plant, and much more. A girl on her father's shoulders looks through a maze of sunflowers growing in a field during a three-day sunflower festival in the town of Nogi, Tochigi prefecture, north of Tokyo, on July 24, 2011. A total of some 200,000 sunflowers welcomed guests for the summer festival, an annual draw for the small town. A monk wearing a mask performs a dance on the first day of two-day festival in Hemis Gompa, 45 km (28 miles) southeast of Leh, on July 10, 2011. The Hemis Gompa is the oldest and biggest monastery in Ladakh. The annual festival celebrates the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava, the founder of Lamaism (an off-shoot of Buddhism) in the eighth century. The two-day festival is marked by ritual dancing in which dancers wear masks representing deities and evil spirits. Roy Johnson, from Etna, California, rides Strawberry Alley for a score of 68, placing him 4th after Thursday night's July 28, 2011 rides at the Last Chance Rodeo in Helena Montana.

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view Summer Festivals as presented by: The Atlantic


From the International Lorraine Mondial Air Ballon Festival, to the Great Texas Balloon Race, to the QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning, it's the season of hot air balloon races. Hot air balloons approach the target area for the "key grab" Saturday, July 30, 2011 in the Great Texas Balloon at the East Texas Regional Airport south of Longview, Texas. The pilots try to skim the ground and put a ring around the pole in the center of the target area. Hot air balloons prepare to take off in Chambley-Bussieres, eastern France, on Wednesday July 27, 2011 in an attempt to set a world record for collective taking-off during the International Lorraine Mondial Air Ballon Festival. Pilot Michael Blum, right, of Union City, N.J., crew chief John Fairty, second right, of Greenwhich, Conn., and Don Wicks, of Hicksville, N.Y., untangle lines before inflating the Beemster Gourmet Dutch Cheese hot air balloon Friday, July 29, 2011, at the QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning in Readington, N.J. The hot air balloon festival runs through Sunday.

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view Hot Air Balloon Festivals in France and U.S. as presented by: Sacramento Bee


On any given day or week in a city such as Los Angeles, you can find something new and outside of the regular routine to do. From June 16 – 26, the Hollywood Fringe Festival takes over various spaces in the slight area of one square mile in Hollywood. Photographer Mariah Tauger spent a couple days cruising this scene to capture a glimpse of what this year’s festival has to offer. She spent time behind the stage, following the “freaks,” taking in the shows and walked away experiencing passionate and creative people in this city. I think this is a must for next year. 4 Clowns member Alexis Jones makes some last-minute adjustments before a performance. Kasey Rose, contortionist and member of the FreakShow Deluxe, warms up before performing during the second annual Hollywood Fringe Festival. "Orange Freak" Liz Steele, right, and "Red Freak" Abby Burgess promote the fest.

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Last week the Austrian town of Poertshcach was the center of attention of the bodypainting world. A model leans with her hand on a table of make-up during the annual World Bodypainting Festival in Poertschach, July 1, 2011. The world's biggest bodypainting event takes place from July 1 to 3 at lake Woerthersee in Austria's southern Carinthia province.

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Around the world, Hindus celebrated Holi last weekend. Called the Festival of Colors, Holi is a popular springtime festival observed on the last full moon of the lunar month. Participants traditionally throw bright, vibrant powders at friends and strangers alike, celebrating the arrival of Spring, commemorating Krishna's pranks, and allowing everyone a momentary freedom -- a chance to drop their inhibitions and simply play and dance. Gathered here are images from this year's Holi celebrations across India and several other countries. A man covered with colored powder poses for a photograph during Holi celebrations at the Bankey Bihari Temple in Vrindavan, India. A man smeared with colored powdered called abeer makes a face during Phagwa, or Holi, celebrations at the Savannah in Arranguez. A girl with her face covered in colored powder smiles as more powder is thrown at a temple in Kuala Lumpur on March 20, 2011.

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view Holi: The Festival of Colors, 2011 as presented by: The Atlantic


Every year, Hindus greet the turn of winter into spring with a splash of color -- in some areas, a geyser of color. They call their celebration the festival of Holi, and Hindus across India and throughout the world share prayer, camaraderie, special food, and a general sense of mischief as they douse each other in dyes and colored water. The large festival has roots to many Hindu legends associated with the triumph of good over evil. One of the best-known stories tells the tale of the demoness Holika, who tried to kill Prahlad, the son of the demon king Hiranyakashyap, for refusing to worship his father. Instead, Holika is consumed in flames, which is replayed each year with bonfires and effigies, before the celebrants break out the hues and cries of the festival. Pakistani Hindus throw buckets of reds and yellows over each other during their celebration of Holi in Lahore on March 20. Revelers celebrate on the deck of the ship Peking at South Street Seaport in Manhattan on March 19. The celebration also included Indian food and music. An Indian vendor arranges the arsenal for celebrants of Holi -- colored powder -- at his shop in Hyderabad, India.

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view Holi: Festival of Colors as presented by: Boston Big Picture


The Boryeong Mud Festival is an annual festival which takes place during the summer in Boryeong, South Korea. The first Mud Festival was staged in 1998. By 2007, the festival attracted 2.2 million visitors to Boryeong. The mud is dug up near Boryeong, trucked to the Daecheon beach area, and dumped at a 'Mud Experience Land'. The mud is considered rich in minerals and used to manufacture cosmetics. Some of the final weekend participants are foreign tourists, but most of the participants during the week are Koreans, attracted by clever marketing by the town. The town fathers and mothers discovered that the mud is more lucrative as a tourist attraction than using the muddy fields for agriculture. A South Korean girl reacts during the Boryeong Mud Festival on Daecheon Beach in Boryeong, south of Seoul, South Korea. Tourists play with the mud during the Boryeong Mud Festival on Daecheon Beach in Boryeong, south of Seoul, South Korea, Sunday, July 18, 2010. The 13th annual mud festival features mud wrestling, mud sliding and a mud king contest.

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view The Boryeong Mud Festival as presented by: Sacramento Bee


Last weekend in Glastonbury, England, on a site covering 1,000 acres, the 40th annual Glastonbury Festival was held at Worthy Farm. Started by a dairy farmer, Michael Evis in 1970 it has grown into the largest music festival in Europe. This year's headline acts on the main stage included Muse, Gorillaz and Stevie Wonder. Thousands of attendees were treated to a sunny weekend in the country with plenty to see, hear and experience. Collected here are 40 images from Glastonbury 2010 for its 40th anniversary. The first of the 140,000 music fans due at this year's Glastonbury Festival enjoy the sunset at Worthy Farm, Pilton on June 23, 2010 in Glastonbury, England. The gates opened this morning at 8am to what has become Europe's largest music festival and is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Snoop Dog performs with Damon Albarn of Gorillaz on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury Festival 2010 on June 25, 2010. Revelers watch British Band Faithless perform during the Glastonbury Festival.

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Onbashira is a festival held every six years in the Lake Suwa area of Nagano, Japan. The purpose of the festival is to symbolically renew the Suwa Taisha or Suwa Grand Shrine. "Onbashira" can be literally translated as "the honored pillars". Onbashira lasts several months, and consists of two segments, Yamadashi and Satobiki. Yamadashi traditionally takes place in April, and Satobiki takes place in May. "Yamadashi" literally means "coming out of the mountains." Before this portion of the festival, huge trees are cut down in a Shinto ceremony using axes and adzes specially manufactured for this single use. The logs are decorated in red and white regalia, the traditional colors of Shinto ceremonies, and ropes are attached. During Yamadashi, Teams of men drag the logs down the mountain towards the four shrines of Suwa Taisha. The course of the logs goes over rough terrain, and at certain points the logs must be skidded or dropped down steep slopes. Young men prove their bravery by riding the logs down the hill in a ceremony known as "Ki-otoshi." Participants astride a huge log slide down a hill during the Onbashira Festival on April 9, in Shimosuwa, Japan. The septennial festival has taken place for the past 1,200 years. The huge timbers are used as sacred pillars for the Suwa Grand Shrines of Kamisha and Shimosha, which are re-built in Suwa City. The lumbers' journey down the mountainside often results in injury and fatalities as participants try to ride the timbers as they slide down the mountain.

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