AP

Achtung!

Greek goblins, Italian witches, camel wrestling, baby jumping in Spain and a Bavarian town that turns Chinese. Oh, and have you heard about the duck races, beard championship and the Mud Olympics? These are just a few of Europe's odd creatures and centuries-old customs and festivals.

Bring on the Freaks: Goth Festival Draws Thousands to Leipzig

Bring on the Freaks: Goth Festival Draws Thousands to Leipzig

SPIEGEL ONLINE - May 21, 2013

Every Pentecostal weekend, when the Wave Gothic Festival, a legendary annual gathering for "dark" music and arts, kicks off in the eastern German city of Leipzig, the world is reminded that nobody does goth quite like the Germans. more... Comment ]

Debauchery Disrupted: Father's Day Lightning Strike Injures 40

Debauchery Disrupted: Father's Day Lightning Strike Injures 40

SPIEGEL ONLINE - May 09, 2013

Father's Day in Germany is traditionally an occasion for massive alcohol intake and a bit of quality time with the guys. One such gathering on Thursday, however, was disrupted by a lightning strike, sending dozens of revellers to the hospital. more... Comment ]

Swiss Miss: Appenzellers Offer Unique Twist on New Year

Swiss Miss: Appenzellers Offer Unique Twist on New Year

SPIEGEL ONLINE - December 31, 2012

When the sound of singing men echoes through the Alpine valley and the trees appear to have legs, it's time to celebrate the New Year again in the Swiss region of Appenzell. The mountain tradition hearkens back to medieval times, and brightens up the dark winter with spectacular costume and song. By Wolfgang Nowak more... Comment ]

Terrifying Traditions: Ghastly Winter Demons Run Wild in the Alps

Terrifying Traditions: Ghastly Winter Demons Run Wild in the Alps

SPIEGEL ONLINE - October 26, 2012

Halloween spooks are for wimps compared to the grisly Christmastime traditions of Europe's Alps, where demonic creatures come out to punish naughty children or to drive winter away each year. A gorgeous new photography book explores the many guises of these wild monsters, whose traditional rumpus harkens back to pagan rites. By Stephan Orth more...

Pumpkins Ahoy! Germany's Drenched Veggie Regatta

Pumpkins Ahoy! Germany's Drenched Veggie Regatta

SPIEGEL ONLINE - September 17, 2012

One of Germany's most unusual aquatic sports competitions features dozens of paddlers in non-conventional vessels. Vying for gourd glory, they splash their way to the finish line in enormous pumpkins. The Ludwigsburg Palace regatta has become one of the country's most photogenic sporting events. more... Comment ]

Grimacing Against the Crisis: Spain Keeps Smiling with Ugly Face Competition

Grimacing Against the Crisis: Spain Keeps Smiling with Ugly Face Competition

SPIEGEL ONLINE - August 24, 2012

Times are tough in Spain, and people have little to smile about these days. But the annual battle of ugly faces in the Basque city of Bilbao proves that the country has lost none of its sense of humor. more...

Pints for Papa: Father's Day in Germany Is One Big Booze Fest

Pints for Papa: Father's Day in Germany Is One Big Booze Fest

SPIEGEL ONLINE - May 18, 2012

Most people consider Oktoberfest to be the biggest drinking celebration in Germany. Often overlooked are the country's Father's Day celebrations, which involve oddly dressed men pulling wagons filled with beer into parks and drinking until they pass out. more...

Blazing Art: Valencia Burns Giant Sculptures at Annual Fallas Festival

Blazing Art: Valencia Burns Giant Sculptures at Annual Fallas Festival

SPIEGEL ONLINE - March 18, 2010

The annual Fallas festival is taking place this week in Valencia on the Spanish coast. During the street parties and parades, giant sculptures are exhibited, judged in a competition and then ceremoniously burnt. more...

Bavaria's Chinese Carnival: Long Live the Emperor of Dietfurt

Bavaria's Chinese Carnival: Long Live the Emperor of Dietfurt

SPIEGEL ONLINE - February 15, 2010

The traditional Carnival parades held around Germany are famous for strange costumes and wild parties. But the small town of Dietfurt in Bavaria is becoming known for something a little more odd: During the festive season, the whole town turns Chinese. more...

Europe Celebrates End of Christmas: Epiphany's Kings, Witches and Goblins

Europe Celebrates End of Christmas: Epiphany's Kings, Witches and Goblins

SPIEGEL ONLINE - January 06, 2010

The Christmas season only really ends in Europe on Jan. 6. Traditions across the continent vary wildly -- from processions of kings and gift-bearing witches to brave souls diving into icy waters. more...