Auckland and Northlanders will be enjoying a glorious public holiday today and the entire country will be celebrating Waitangi Day next Monday. But maybe we need to adopt some other international holidays too?

Nyepi Day - Bali

Whereas in western countries we're used to celebrating the new year with big bangs and lots of fanfare, in Bali they prefer to do things quietly. Nyepi Day - or Silent Night - marks Bali's Lunar New Year in total silence, a time of solemn retrospection. If you happen to visit at this time, you'll be warned to stay inside your hotel as a mark of respect, although you're allowed to watch television at a low volume. And don't think you can ignore it - security guards patrol the streets to make sure locals and tourists alike stay at home. After the day of silence, cleansing rituals are carried out at village temples and a carnival follows, where puppets with bulging eyes are burned to chase out evil spirits.

Balinese people praying during the hindu ceremony at night. Bali New Year Nyepi Day. Photo / Getty Images
Balinese people praying during the hindu ceremony at night. Bali New Year Nyepi Day. Photo / Getty Images

La Tomatina - Spain


This food-fight festival is held in the town of Bunol in the east of Spain every year. A tradition since the 1940s, no one really knows how it got started - but some say it originates from angry townspeople attacking city councillors with tomatoes during a town celebration. Whatever the origin, people have been pelting each other with tomatoes ever since and the festival attracts thousands of tourists. The squishy red ammo - locally grown of course - is delivered by tractors to the town before the 90-minute free-for-all begins. In 2015, it was estimated that almost 145,000kg of tomatoes were thrown - that's a lot of salsa.

Night of the Radishes - Oaxaca, Mexico

Another produce-themed holiday, Oaxaca's Night of the Radishes is a little less messy than La Tomatina. Taking place a few days before Christmas, farmers compete to create intricate carvings using oversized radishes. The most traditional carvings are of nativity scenes, but entries have become more diverse over time - including common scenes of local life, folklore and other biblical stories. The tradition began in 1897, when farmers at the local Christmas market began carving figures out of their vegetables to catch the eye of customers.

Up Helly Aa - Scotland

Held over 24 hours on the last Thursday of January in the Shetland Island's city of Lerwick, this fiery festival dates back to Viking days and marks the end of the Yule period. Up Helly Aa is celebrated with a variety of fire festivals - it starts with a torch procession of hundreds of people in costume and ends with the throwing of the fires into a replica Viking ship.

Punch Your Neighbour Day - Bolivia

They say you should love your neighbour, but sometimes a punch is more appropriate. Tinku, also known as Punch Your Neighbour Day, takes place in May in the Bolivian Andes. A traditional religious festival, it dates to pre-Hispanic times and seeks to please the earth Goddess Pachamama - who demands blood in return for a good harvest. During the festivities, women form circles and chant while the men fight each other. In the past, deaths were common - but were considered a forecast of an especially abundant harvest.