Unfortunately we missed it this year, but next year you should grab your Thor costume and head down to San Juan de la Vega, Mexico in February for some explosive celebrations.
Every year on the Tuesday of Carnival (which fell on Feb 5th this year), the residents of San Juan de la Vega get together to “recreate” the great battle of their patron saint (San Juan de la Vega of cours) and the government. The story is that this Juan was a bit of a Robin Hood character and stole from the rich to give to the poor. During Carnival, there is a little bit of a recreation of the story of some thieves stealing gold, but not all making it out. The captured thieves are then offered up for a ransom that exceeds the amount of gold stolen. Money is collected, but apparently not all goes according to plan and there is the resulting battle with the government. This isn’t a small recreation though. Tons of potassium chloride and sulphur along with many thousands of people gather to set off these explosive hammers.
The explosive recreation of the “battle” used to take place in the main square of the city, but due to damage to buildings (I can imagine!) it has since been moved to a soccer field where there aren’t any windows to break. Surprisingly with this large number of explosives and close proximity of exploders, there are very few injuries. In 2007 there were 17 reported minor injuries, and 50 in 2008.
There’s a translated article (thanks Babelfish) about the 2007 celebration if you want to read more about the reason behind it all. There is also the original article for those fluent in Spanish. And an article on last year’s celebration: English / Spanish.
The above video is from a previous year, and here’s a video from 2008:
And thanks to avidd, there’s also a humorous Instructables based on the top video entitled “Physics experiement with exploding sledgehammer”.