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Making People Eat Cinnamon Powder Is Still Funny

The Cinnamon Challenge is back baby!
All photos by the author

Without sounding negative, 2017 was a piece of shit. We were nearly blown to pieces by North Korea, Trump wasn’t banned from Twitter, and next to nothing was done about climate change.

But when it all gets too much, you can do one of two things. Try and enact change, or remain in denial and and distract yourself with wistful thoughts about “the good old days.” And by the good old days, we’re talking about 2012, when internet challenges were at their peak. And the peakiest of those challenges was The Cinnamon Challenge.


The Cinnamon Challenge invited people to see if they could eat a spoon of powdered cinnamon, which they never could because powdered cinnamon turns to cement soon as it hits saliva. And then it always made people choke, which was hilarious.

With this in mind, we took some spoons and cinnamon to Sugar Mountain—which is a day festival in Melbourne, headlined by such legends as Joey Bada$$ and Cut Copy—to bring back The Cinnamon Challenge and remind people of simpler times. Those times when the only thing to worry about was choking to death on a spoonful of cinnamon.

Jack, 25, Carpenter

VICE: Hey Jack, have you heard of the cinnamon challenge?
Jack: No, not really…

It was a big internet thing back in 2012 where you eat a dry teaspoon of cinnamon.
That’s a weird thing to do. The only phenomenon I know of that’s sort of similar was the nutmeg thing.

I’ve never heard of a nutmeg version, tell me more about that.
Yeah, so if you snort enough nutmeg, it makes you high, kind of woozy and spaced out. You have to snort a lot of it though, like I remember people carrying around whole bags of it.

Have you tried it yourself?
Almost, as a prank. One of my friends gave me coriander crushed up and told me it was nutmeg. Nothing happened when I snorted it though. It was just bad, so don’t do that.

Ok, so is eating cinnamon the weirdest thing you’ve been asked to do at a festival?
It’s in my top three, that’s for sure. But I reckon my number one was when we were at Meredith and my friend found some dental floss on the ground. We then all thought it was a good idea to floss our teeth on the dance floor. It was three days into the festival though, so it was kind of nice to have my teeth flossed.


Do you have a game plan for the challenge?
Not really, I think it’s going to be very dry but also soggy. I’ll just have to go with the experience I think.

Note: Jack did not win the The Cinnamon Challenge.

Alex, 27, Radio producer

Is this the weirdest thing you’ve been asked to do at a festival?
Oh no, this is definitely the weirdest thing I’ve been asked to do at a festival, most definitely. No one has ever come up to me and gone, ‘hey do you want to take a teaspoon of cinnamon, just for a laugh?’.

Is there anything that comes close?
I got flooded out by the ocean one time. Back in Auckland, I went to Big Day Out one year, and was camping out in Takapuna, North Auckland. We got back to the campsite from the festival and kept partying, eventually passed out, and then woke up about an hour later with the ocean lapping at my face. It was a stormy weekend, and the king tide had risen so much that it flooded out the camp site.

Cool. Now, throwing it back to 2012, when the cinnamon challenge was actually relevant, if you could have any artist who really big then, play here today, who would it be?
Kanye West, because he bailed on us in 2012. He came to Australia, but then bailed on us in New Zealand for Big Day Out in 2012.

Classic Kanye. Ok I think it’s time to actually eat the cinnamon. How are you feeling?
Well, I didn’t actually do it back when it was big, but I’ve seen videos. I dunno, I think I’ll be fine, it’s just a teaspoon right?


Note: Alex did not win the The Cinnamon Challenge.

Izzy, 24

Izzy! Are you up for the challenge?

Some don’t handle it very well, do you think this will be at the top of your list for festival horror stories?
Maybe not, because when I was at Strawberry Fields back in 2012, I had to go to the festival hospital because I had a really bad stomach ache. I was in absolute agony, and they were really concerned because it wasn’t to do with anything I’d had at the festival. The doctor actually thought I might be pregnant and wanted me to go see him at his practice back home for a blood test. Turns out, two hours later I realised I just had to go to the toilet. So yeah I guess it’s not a horror story, but fairly embarrassing.

2012 also happened to be the year the cinnamon challenge was big, was that a good year for you?
Well I missed out on the whole cinnamon thing I think because I was a bit old? Maybe that’s why it was a good year… but yeah it was great. It was my first year out of school and I was finding my feet. I kind of had an idea about my future, but still no idea really. I had a lot of confidence in myself that year I think.

Have you done anything similar to this?
I did the “pass out challenge” once. That’s where you hold your breath, and try and make yourself pass out at school. A lot of people I know did it. I’m not really sure how it started or where it came from. You’re not putting anything into your body so I’m not sure if that counts.


Ok wow, well this one is a little less fucked.
Yeah I feel like this isn’t going to risk my life.

Note: Izzy did not win the The Cinnamon Challenge.

Maddie, 21, Musician
Jackson, 22, Electrician

Hey Maddie and Jackson! How’s your Sugar Mountain been so far?
Maddie: Excellent! It’s my friends birthday weekend, and this is the second year in a row we’ve celebrated by coming here.

I might just be about to ruin your festival experience. Have you heard of the Cinnamon Challenge, if so, would you like to give it a go today?
Maddie: Yes, I’ve done it, and it didn’t go well… it came out my nose, but yes, I will do it again, because why not.
Jackson: Yes! It sounds great, I’ve never done it but would love to do it.

Jackson, I feel like you are far too enthusiastic. Before we get into it, tell me about a time you were asked to do something weirder than this.
Maddie: I’m pretty sure someone asked me to shaft a pinger. I didn’t know them and obviously I said no, but it could have been fun, who knows?
Jackson: I can’t really think of any this is probably the weirdest thing I’ve been asked to do actually.

Ok can you rate the portaloos on offer here today?
Maddie: I actually haven’t been to the toilet yet, but I’m assuming they’ll be pretty good. Anything is better than when I went to Falls and had to deal with those “natural” ones where you chuck the sawdust on top. The sawdust definitely didn’t help. My friend actually dropped her keys down there had to fish them out.


Note: Neither Maddie nor Jackson won the The Cinnamon Challenge. In fact, Jackson threw up behind some bins.

Luke, 22, TV producer
Bronte, 23, Fashion Blogger

Hey Luke and Bronte, have you ever done the cinnamon challenge?
Luke: Yes! I have, and I think I passed. People say I didn’t have enough cinnamon on the spoon, but I think they were just angry I managed to do it.
Bronte: No, but you know what, I’m actually willing to give it a go. I remember walking in on some girls in the bathroom at school doing it and they were crying… I honestly don’t know why I’m doing it, it seemed stupid in 2012, so am I getting stupider?

You have to do everything once.
Luke: Yeah, I mean, you either die, or you don’t… it’s pretty good.

Aside from doing a teaspoon of dry cinnamon, how does this festival rate against others you’ve been to?
Luke: It’s the second time I’ve been, and it’s definitely one of the best day festivals I’ve been to.
Bronte: Yeah, there’s the whole arty aspect of it, good food, good crowd.

What’s least favourite festival crowd?
Luke: The people who used to go to Stereosonic before it shut down.
Bronte: They’ve all gone to Beyond the Valley… We know because we were there this year. They just want to fight everyone, like ALL the time.

So before you do the challenge, Luke do you have any advice for Bronte on how to succeed?
Luke: If you start to choke, just spit, do not swallow.

Note: Luke won the The Cinnamon Challenge!!

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