Every February for centuries, locals in a small town in Mexico have thrown a bombastic festival unlike any other in the world. The souvenirs from attending can be lifelong and it is not a lame story about drinking too much on holiday, but rather scars from real, legitimate, shrapnel wounds. Some call it the “Bomb Hammer Party.”
The local religious figure is popular even though he’s not technically recognized by the Catholic church because of his Robin Hood-like personality, which involved robbing passing mule drivers before giving their money to the poor.
VIce news reported, much like San Juanito himself, the festival in his honor is rather atypical. In addition to celebrating him with prayers, parties, food, and a procession in which mule drivers and thieves reenact a robbery, locals take to the streets every February wielding hammers affixed with homemade packets of chlorate powder and sulfur that explode when the revelers smash them into the concrete.
Despite several attempts from local officials and parents to ban the practice and the handful of injuries it regularly causes, the tradition has carried on for 300 years. As one of the hammer-makers said, “It’s extreme. We do it for the saint.”