16 Crazy Parties You May Not Know About18
16 Crazy Parties You May Not Know About
We all know Mardi Gras, Oktoberfest and Rio’s Carnival. They’re famous for a reason, but they’re not the only massive annual parties on earth, nor even necessarily the coolest. After all, a wild celebration can manifest itself wherever music, booze and uninhibited revelers converge. Every year, some lesser-known—but no less incredible—parties go down all over map, and there’s no reason you shouldn’t consider crashing them at some point in your life. Whether you want to dance, hook up or simply get buzzed and take in some eye candy, a good festival is always a solid thing to plan a trip around. Before you go, do some “research” with our very own web series, “The World’s Sexiest Parties“, where you can preview some of the beautiful women and exotic locales you just might encounter abroad. Meanwhile, we’ve scoured the globe for 16 awesome parties that you may not have known about (or at least that you may not have known much about). We hope one of them inspires your next getaway. If so, just be sure to bring a camera—you don’t want to forget what should be an unforgettable night.
A 300-year-old tradition that began as a Norwegian adolescent rite of passage, Russefeiring has become an insane display of youthful freedom that is anything from old-fashioned. Every year, over 10,000 high school graduates (and additional heaps of young, party-seeking tourists) gather at Olso’s Tryvann Park in what might be the world’s craziest graduation party. Think binge drinking, public intercourse and all-around public disturbance. Teens will be teens. Even Norwegian ones.
2. Full Moon Party
The island of Ko Pha Ngan in Thailand hosts an all-night beach party before or after every full moon. The tradition began in the ’80s as a simple gathering to give thanks to a group of tourists, and over time has evolved into a 20,000-strong celebration that is sure to be on every party-loving tourist’s itinerary. In addition to the endless, pounding music and attractive crowd, the event boasts features like fire skipping ropes, infamous “buckets” of alcoholic beverages and a pretty colorful drug culture. In other words, there aren’t a lot of people going home alone after this one.
Holi is a two-day Hindu festival in northern India in which participants throw colored flour and water at one other; it’s just as messy as La Tomatina, and a little more polychromatic. The Spring throwdown celebrates significant events in the Hindu religion, but you can bet there are plenty of tourists sneaking in for the epic bonfires, raucous color-splashing battles and, most of all, the thandai, the cannabis-laced beverage responsible for the heightened sense of ecstasy in the streets.
A celebration of the Thai New Year, Songkran may as well be the world’s biggest wet-tshirt contest. The festival takes place during Thailand’s hottest time of year, mid April, and partiers cool off by throwing containers of water, blasting Super Soakers and spraying garden hoses at one other. Although the original Songkran festival was a rather somber and reverent affair—a time to pay respect to elder, where the water hurling symbolized a spiritual cleansing—young people have helped push the festival in the direction of wet and wild revelry.
5. Bay to Breakers
Bay to Breakers is a seven-mile footrace through downtown San Francisco with enough costumes, public nudity and public drunkenness to make Mardi Gras just a little jealous. The party originally began in 1906 as a way to uplift bummed-out, earthquake-shaken San Franciscans. Now, earthquake or not, over 70,000 people flock downtown in costume—birthday suits included—to day-drink and be merry.
6. Australia Day
You have to admire the fun-loving attitude of the Aussies. On Australia Day, when they celebrate the European settlement of their continent, that spirit comes out in full force, largely in the form of beer and barbecue. Who doesn’t love an entire continent full of debaucherous partying. It’s so nuts, even the Aborigines can’t help but partake. (OK, maybe not.)
7. San Fermin Festival
If you haven’t heard of the San Fermin Festival in Pamplona, Spain, you have certainly heard of its flagship event, the Running of the Bulls. But the festival itself has much more to offer than the opportunity to sprint through narrow streets while angry beasts that want to kill you barrel after you. The rest of the week-long celebration features tons of crazy pyrotechnics, provocative dancers, street entertainers and thousands of Spaniards just generally proving themselves as the world’s greatest partiers.
8. Queen’s Day
In the Netherlands, Queen’s Day, or Koninginnedag (even the Dutch have to be pretty drunk to pronounce this correctly) honors the birthday of the Queen of the Netherlands and serves as a festive day of national unity. Amsterdam hosts the largest gathering for this nationwide celebration, but partiers all over the country paint their towns not red, but orange. Daytime events feature a large flea market (known as the “freemarket”) and outdoor concerts. But the real party begins the prior evening, on Queen’s Night, when the place to be is not Amsterdam, but rather The Hague. Bars and clubs hold special all-night events that cater to the crazy sea of loopy, orange-clad Dutchmen.
9. EXIT Festival
Named Best European Festival by the UK Festival Awards 2007, the four-day EXIT music festival in Novi Sad, Serbia features music performances from the top names in rock, electronica, metal and hip-hop. The festival is held in an 18th century fortress (how many concerts have you seen in a fortress?), which makes for a picturesque setting to complement the music. Launched in 2000 by three university students, EXIT continues to bill itself as a socially conscious festival that entertains its participants as much as it informs them about political issues. But deep down, it’s just a big, fun-ass party.
10. World’s Largest Disco
Who knew that a party claiming to be the “world’s largest disco” would take place in Buffalo, New York? Every year, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, around 13,000 polyester-clad, Travolta-loving disco fanatics huddle for warmth in the Buffalo Convention Center and relive the cheesy charm of the 1970s. In case you were wondering, the party’s ambitious title is no pipe dream: the event holds the Guinness World Record for the largest disco in history.
11. La Tomatina
Since 1945, about 30,000 messy party animals have been hurling tomatoes at each other on the last Wednesday in August in Valencia, Spain. To be sure, this unusual festival is the world’s biggest food fight. Nobody is quite sure how the tradition started, but apparently the festival honors the small town’s patron saints by flooding the streets with fresh, homemade (or sidewalk-made) ketchup. Sure, it’s a gratuitous display of waste (look away, famine-stricken nations). But as the throngs of enthusiastic Spaniards and tourists who annually overflow the tiny town will tell you, it’s also a hell of a party.
12. Rabac Dance Festival
Held annually near the beautiful Girandella beach, this Croatian dance party features five dance floors full of sexy Europeans shaking it until sunrise. The two-day event boasts a pretty impressive roster of musical performers and renowned DJs. If you’re interested in an all-night dance binge and some unbeatable Euro eye candy, check out the beaches at Rabac.
If the thumping bass of incessant techno and house has you yearning for something a little more laid back and intimate, look no further than Moonsplash, a reggae festival held in the Caribbean island of Anguilla. Leave your shirts and shoes at home for this celebration of peace and love, which attracts some of the most influential names in reggae. And don’t forget to try Dune Shine, the event’s featured drink, which also goes by the name Enlightening Aphrodisiac.
14. Burning Man
Sure, you may know about Burning Man. But unless you’re a Burner yourself, you likely have no idea what the hell actually goes down at the annual eight-day arts festival held in Black Rock Desert the week leading up to Labor Day. In short, it’s an expansive display of neo-hippie culture, radical self-expression and, um, lots of drugs and public nudity.
15. Love Parade
Inspired by the revolutionary changes in Europe that catalyzed the demolition of the Berlin Wall, Love Parade is a popular festival held every year in Germany that has spawned heaps of imitators throughout the world. Love Parade originated as a political demonstration of peace through love and music, and it fervently sticks to those ideals, as thousands of costumed and semi-nude “demonstrators” dance on streetlamps, trees, signs and telephone booths. Hence its nickname: The Greatest Amateur Circus on Earth.
16. Trinidad and Tobego Carnival
Rio gets all the love when it comes to Carnival, but head on over to Trinidad and Tobego for its version of the party. Celebrated during the two days before Ash Wednesday, Trinidad and Tobego’s Carnival easily rivals its famous competitor with equally outlandish costumes, exhibitionism, nonstop calypso and soca music, and all-around blissful pandemonium. It is said that when islanders aren’t celebrating Carnival, they’re either preparing for it or reminiscing over it.
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