Weird-ender: The strangest, whackiest, most viral stories of 2021

Written By: Pratik Prasenjit WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Dec 21, 2021, 08:25 PM(IST)

Weird-ender: The strangest, whackiest, most viral stories of 2021 Photograph:( Agencies )

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Let’s revisit some of the craziest viral stories of the year that made waves on social media platforms

Much like the year that went by, 2021 was a fraught year. However, amid the chaos and suffering, the year was replete with occurrences that left people scratching their heads. While some of them were indeed funny, some turned out to be downright bizarre or revolting.

As 2021 draws to a close, let’s revisit some of the craziest viral stories of the year that made waves on social media platforms.

Bernie Sanders’ iconic mittens

In January 2021, US Senator Bernie Sanders stole US President Joe Biden’s thunder after he attended the latter’s inauguration in an olive-coloured winter jacket and knitted mittens, resembling a “grumpy grandpa at the post office”.

The 79-year-old’s casual look became a sensation, and Twitter did not take much time to turn it into memes. A meme site, in fact, went a step ahead and enabled a feature that let users put the viral image of Bernie Sanders anywhere on Google Street View image.

Bernie Sanders

Dancing through the Myanmar coup

The military coup in Myanmar in February took an absurd turn after a video emerged showing a woman, reportedly a fitness instructor, dancing while in the background a convoy of SUVs approach the parliament complex to oust the civilian government. The surreal combination of events threw many into a tizzy on the internet.

Myanmar coup

Trump Officially Banned From Twitter

In January, social media giant Twitter permanently banned Donald Trump, taking a dramatic step to limit the then US president’s ability to communicate with his followers. The ban came close on the heels of the January 6 Capitol Hill riots that left a scar on US’ democratic history.

But that’s not all. In May, Twitter suspended another account for being "affiliated with a suspended account", after the handle was caught sharing posts from Trump's new communications platform. Click here to read the story here.

A ship's traffic jam and a lone excavator in Suez Canal

In March, a giant cargo vessel, Ever Given, blocked the famous Suez Canal in Egypt. The incident, awful yet hilarious, opened the floodgates of memes with Twitter offering ‘evergreen’ (That’s also the name of the shipping company which owned the vessel) solutions to steer it away.

A picture showing a lone excavator dwarfed by the 400-metre-long ship became a go-to meme template, with users making fun of the various ingenious methods used to refloat the vessel. The ship was dislodged almost a week later.

Suez Canal



US Navy pilots describe encounters with UFOs

In May, two former US Navy pilots revealed they witnessed something "unsettling" and unexplainable while flying over the Pacific Ocean in November 2004.

The pilots, Cmdr. Dave Fravor and Lt. Cmdr. Alex Dietrich, said they spotted a “little white Tic-Tac-looking object” above the water that had “no predictable movement or predictable trajectory”. The duo said the object suddenly accelerated and disappeared once they tried to move closer. It was caught on infrared video by a different navy flight later. Click here to read the story.


T-shirt company tries to cash in on Afghans falling off plane video

A t-shirt design, which mocked Afghans who fell from a US Air Force jet while trying to flee the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, faced online backlash for dehumanising and gaining profit from a human tragedy.

The £12 t-shirts, featuring the slogan 'Kabul Skydiving Club, Est 2021', left netizens fuming and forced the brand to take a complete U-turn. The last we checked; the company was selling ‘Pray for Afghanistan’ t-shirts. Click here to read the story.


Jamaican athlete wins hearts at Tokyo 2020

A Jamaican sprinter, Hansle Parchment, won praise in August after he tracked down and showed his gratitude to a Tokyo Olympics volunteer who came to his help after he reached the wrong venue. The woman had given the Olympic champion some money so that he could take a taxi and reach on time for his event.

After winning the gold, Hansle did not forget to thank the volunteer who helped him at the right time. Click here to read the story.

Tokyo 2020

Nurse’s saline ‘solution’ to fight COVID-19

Halfway through 2021, German authorities appealed thousands of people to get another shot of COVID-19 vaccine after police found that a nurse had administered saline solution instead of vaccine to more than 8,500 people at a vaccination centre.

Police later found that the nurse involved was "motivated to oppose the vaccination." We wonder how she made it that far! Click here to read the story.

German nurse

(Image Credit: AFP)

Air India’s all-women power

In a historic achievement, an all-women crew of Air India took the longest direct flight from San Francisco to Bengaluru after covering a distance of 16,000 kilometres in which the aircraft flew over the North Pole.

The crew further revealed that the new route saved fuel consumption, flying time, and curbed carbon footprint by flying over the polar route. Way to go girls! Click here to read the story.

all-women crew

(Image Credit: PTI) 

Bear and cubs cool off in backyard pool amid heatwave

This mama bear and her two cubs took everyone by surprise after they were filmed cooling off with a dip in someone’s backyard pool, after the temperatures soared in the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia.

While the cubs paddled around in the water and splashed each other, the mother dipped her paws in the pool and led her cubs over the backyard’s fence once the family was done relishing the outdoor fun. The residents clearly had no choice but to ‘bear’ with them. Click here to see more pictures.

Bear and cubs

Macron egged and slapped

There was no love lost between French President Emannuel Macron and 2021 as the year appeared to have conspired against the leader who was subjected to public assaults, not one, but twice. 

In June, a 28-year-old was arrested in southeast France after he slapped Macron across the face when the French leader was shaking hands with members of the public during a walkabout.

Three months later, Macron was pelted with an egg at an international food expo in Lyon, France. Thankfully, the egg bounced off the president's shoulder area, without breaking. We wish him good luck for 2022. Click here to read the story.


Tanzanian creators lip-sync to Bollywood songs

A Tanzanian sibling duo, Kili Paul and sister Neema, won millions of hearts recently with their on-point lip-sync to Bollywood songs. The life of the two changed after a video of them lip-synching to 'Raatan Lambiyan' from Bollywood movie ‘Shershaah’ went viral on Instagram.

Since then, the duo, who walk nearly two hours daily to the nearest village to charge the phone for creating the videos, has been inundated with messages - not just from admiring Indians but also people from all around the globe requesting for their favourite melodies. Click here to read the story.


Italian man tries to dodge Covid vaccine wearing fake arm

While 'vaccine' was selected as Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year, vaccine hesitancy made its way into people’s lives - driven by both misinformation and conspiracy theories.

Despite the abundant supply of jabs, authorities struggled worldwide to break the critical barrier to achieving high COVID-19 vaccine coverage.

In one such instance, a man in Italy, who had been suspended for refusing to get vaccinated, tried to pull off a crazy stunt. 

The 50-year-old anti-vaxxer, who was keen to get a vaccine pass after Italy made it mandatory, wore a fake silicone arm to his coronavirus vaccination centre. He was later reported to the police for fraud. Click here to read the story. 

fake arm

(Image Credit: AFP)

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