You'll all identify with this ritual of getting home after a long day of work and the minute you're alone, getting into a mad scramble to absolutely pull each layer of stuffy clothing till you're as bare as the day you were born. It feels like a blessed relief, doesn't it?
Whether you admit it or not, we're all fans of dawdling around in the nude. Just not in front of a lot of people. But what if you've got a chance to join a festival where everyone turns up in their birthday suit? Do you dare?
While your parents might not be the happiest people on the planet if you choose to let your hair (and clothes down) in public, it all comes down to why you should in fact go au naturel, if you so choose. There's something so liberating about being your natural self, unhindered by clothes. In open and progressive festivals with clothing optional, nobody will look at you or judge you because everyone around you is naked.
We live lives constantly fussing over our clothes and appearance lest we be judged, but in such spaces nobody has the inclination to judge anyone. It'll boost your self esteem because you'll realise that the naked human form is a far cry from the airbrushed flawlessness that is being held up for everyone to see. Your body is yours and you'll learn to love it for how it looks. These events are 100% safe and you won't be facing leering looks. It's a safe and open space where you can feel the sun and breeze on your skin.
Are you ready to bare it all? Then take a look at these nude festivals around the world.
World Body Painting Festival, Austria
Come summer with its mellow warmth and Klagenfurt in Austria erupts into a mind-boggling spectrum of colours. Nature's play of colours peek out of the blanket of white while another vision of art unfolds in the World Bodypainting Festival in Austria. The canvas used is a little unconventional – the naked human form.
People are slathered in vivid colours and the body is celebrated as a masterpiece – an instrument helping people express their ideas and personalities. Started in 1998, the festival has inspired modern body painting as an art form and pinned it firmly on the art and cultural landscape.
Over 30,000 artists and spectators swarm in from 50 nations to attend this smorgasbord of art, music, fashion, parties, installation art and food. The three-day festival includes painted models hanging precariously from wires, jaw-dropping installations, body painting exhibits in grand costumes complete with lights and sound and an open air art park where you can see the magic take place.
Beltane Fire Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland
Each summer is ushered in by the Beltane Fire Society with fire (lots of it), music and mirth. On April 30th, the Beltane Fire Festival is marked by a night of unrestrained revelry to celebrate the new season in the Celtic Calendar. Beltane is a pagan holiday which marks the onset of summer and fertility of the coming year. A great congregation gathers on Calton Hill Park to witness the mesmerising wedding procession of the May Queen and the Green Man.
Dating as far back as 1988, the bounty of nature is celebrated with fire, lots of it. A great bonfire is lit at midnight and many dance around the blaze buck naked. Keep an eye out for those painted in red. They'll behave impishly and try to sniff, snarl and hiss at you and even kiss you. Symbolising the chaos in nature, these red devils succumb to harmony by the end of the night and dance around gleefully with the May Queen's attendants.
No Pants Subway Ride
Though this one doesn’t fall strictly in the category of strutting around in your birthday suit, it’s on the list because of the lack of clothes this event involves. Started as a playful prank by Improv Everywhere in New York City, a frosty day in January 2002 saw seven men getting on the subway dressed in everything but pants.
When they ran into each other on the subway, they casually claimed to have forgotten to put on pants. In 2003, 30 people dressed as businessmen and tourists didn’t wear pants to the subway causing an irate conductor to shout, “This train is not a playground” over the PA. *giggle*
The prank caused a stir before snowballing into a full-blown movement with thousands of people participating sans pants in Amsterdam, Paris, London, Milan, Lisbon, Warsaw, Helsinki, Toronto, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Bangalore, Mexico City, Brisbane and even Istanbul.
The idea is to get on the subway in winter without pants and behave as if you don’t know the other participants. This year's No Pants Subway Ride is on Sunday, January 13, 2019, in case you want to sign up and ride on the subway unhindered by pants.
Oblation Run, Quezon City, Philippines
It is no secret that major universities have the wackiest traditions that are carried on by future torch bearers, more so if you’re part of a close-knit fraternity. Whooping students streaking naked across a campus may not be the most unusual sight of your university life, however, streaking naked organised groups are.
The members of the University of the Philippines' chapter of the Alpha Phi Omega fraternity put on this au naturel demonstration to bring grave contemporary issues to the forefront. The Oblation Run has earlier tried to draw attention to issues like political corruption and the murder of journalists.
Also referred to as the 'ritual dance of the brave', fraternity members run naked across the campus wearing masks or sporting a fig leaf (to cover up their more delicate bits), every year. The name of the run derives from the 'Oblation', a naked statue of a man present in every branch of University of Philippines which symbolises selfless sacrifice of oneself to the country.
Hadaka Matsuri, Okayama, Japan
The Hadaka Matsuri or Naked Festival is when you'll watch your prim and proper Japanese friend shed inhibitions (and clothes), all to catch a pair of willow sticks. The matsuri (festival) involves men dressed in loincloths dousing themselves in ice cold water during winter to purify themselves, show off, play games in the mud for diversion and fight among 9,000 people for a pair of willow sticks which are meant to bring you good luck. All that, whilst wearing a loincloth.
The festival became popular because of the huge scale at which the midnight celebrations in Saida-ji, Japan take place. The festival has been celebrated for over 500 years. On the evening of the third Saturday in February, there's a big expectant crowd waiting with almost naked participants and spectators. At 10 pm the lights go off and a Shinto priest throws the sticks into the crowd. The sticks are meant to be clutched on to and planted in a box full of rice. Much like rugby.
Kumbh Mela, India
The largest religious gathering in the world, drawing in 100 million devotees from all over the world has an interesting mythological story behind it. Whilst churning an ocean from both ends, the Gods and the demons found a pot of elixir and fought over it. Drops of the elixir of immortality fell on four sites where the Kumbh Mela is held, Haridwar, Allahabad , Nashik and Ujjain. An interesting mix of religion, faith and spirituality ascetics, hermits and pilgrims flood in from all over the world. The sadhus that stand out the most in the crowd are the naked and prominent Naga sadhus.
And they are a sight. Without a stitch of clothing, their hair-matted and bodies smeared with ash, they walk nonchalantly, seemingly unaware of their nakedness. Their eyes are red from smoking chillums of marijuana and their skin is tough, accustomed as they are to extreme temperatures. Residing in the Himalayan caves, they live austere lives of celibacy and renunciation from all worldly attachments.
If you stick around long enough they even do tricks with their penis like lifting weights with it or twirling or pulling it.
Which festival are you going to?
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