Video: Malta's iconic greasy pole challenge
The 33 m long pole is smeared with animal fat and grease Photograph: (WION)
In scenic Malta, there is a tradition that blends sports with religious fervour. Gostra is a festival that dates back to the Middle Ages. It involves a 33-meter-long pole, which is smeared with animal fat, and three flags pinned on it. Participants are required to run up the pole and grab the flags.
Each of the three flags have distinct meanings. The blue and white flag of the Madonna, the yellow and white Vatican standard, the Belgian tricolour, representing the ancestral homeland of St. Julian. They are all associated with a special prize for whoever manages to reach them.