#6 – Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras, Sydney, Australia
Every March, Sydney’s streets turn fabulous as the LGBT community of Sydney and Australia at large descend on the city to paint the town rainbow. From its humble roots as a gay rights march in the 70s, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras has grown into an internationally renowned celebration of LGBT pride that features a colourful parade, academic discussion, ‘drag’ races, and an associated film festival.
Oh, and a shit tonne of totally debauched parties.
The festival isn’t just for the LGBT community, however, and all are invited to participate in the festivities as a celebration of inclusiveness and equality. It’s a beautiful thing, and a party everybody should attend at some point.
#5 – King’s Day, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Known as Queen’s Day when there’s a queen on the throne, King’s Day is often billed as ‘the world’s biggest street (and canal) party’ as the streets of Amsterdam manage to step up the debauchery a notch in celebration of the country’s monarch.
It’s a day where the residence of a country with legal marijuana and its famous red light district let their hair down, which should give you some indication of just how much fun you’re in for.
People dress in orange (the national colour of the Netherlands), listen to live music, get drink drank drunk, dance, sell their stuff in the flea market, and generally have a fantastic time. Amsterdam’s population more than doubles during the festival as people from across the world come to celebrate a monarch they’ve probably never heard of.
When it comes to festivals, if it’s not Dutch, it’s not much.
You can use my special promo code (AUSSIE) to get unlimited free beers on your houseboat at King’s Day with Stoke Travel.
#4 -Songkran, Thailand
There’s symbolism behind Thailand’s tradition of drenching its citizens to ring in the Thai New Year, as it’s a way to wash away the previous year’s sins and bad luck.
To visitors, however, it’s better known as the world’s biggest water fight. Water pistols, buckets, hoses, Tupperware containers, and anything else capable of holding water are brought onto the field of battle as everybody tries to drench anything that moves.
While Songkran is celebrated across the country, it’s on the crowded streets of Bangkok that things get particularly chaotic.
It’s definitely not a good time of year to be riding your scooter through the streets, with more than 300 deaths in 2014’s festivities as a result of over-zealous revellers drenching speeding bikes.
#3 -Mardi Gras, New Orleans, United States
While it may have its roots in the Christian of Shrove Tuesday, there’s very little about the New Orleans Mardi Gras that you’ll find in the good book.
The parade, the wildly inventive floats, the costumes, the booze, the beads, and the things people do to earn said beads have become synonymous with a hedonistic good time the world around.
It’s the celebration that brings hundreds of thousands to the city’s French quarter for drinking, bead chasing, masquerade balls, and the revelry of seeing the krewes in action.
#2 – Oktoberfest, Germany
When they aren’t starting and losing World Wars, the Germans are great at brewing beer. The sixteen day Oktoberfest takes place in Munich from September to October of each year. The world’s largest celebration of beer, the festival stretches back to the early 1800s and is today one of the most popular festivals in the world.
It’s not just about beer, of course. The festival is a celebration of Bavarian culture as well, so you’ll get to eat delicious German food, hear live music, and participate in the usual funfair attractions such as rides and games of skill.
But, let’s be honest, you’re going to Oktoberfest for the beer and you’re going to be in good company: nearly 8 million litres of quality German beer were consumed at the 2013 festival.
If that isn’t a challenge being laid down, I don’t know what is.
You can use the promo code “AUSSIE” to get unlimited free beer and sangria with your ticket to Oktoberfest with Stoke Travel.
#1 -Carnival, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Like the Mardi Gras in New Orleans, the Carnival in Brazil is ostensibly about blowing off a little steam before Lent. While it is celebrated across the country, it is in Rio that the festival has really made its name.
The Rio Carnival is a wild celebration composed of dancing, singing, hot Brazilian girls, live music, hot Brazilian guys, brightly coloured costumes on hot Brazilian girls, parades, drinking, hot Brazilian girls, street parties and… uh… hot Brazilian girls.
It’s the party I’d most likely to take part in (although Oktoberfest is a very close second), and not just because of the aforementioned hot Brazilian girls. It’s an inclusive, colourful, wild party that is every bit as famous around the world as Brazil’s all conquering football team. A true bucket list item.
What’s the wildest, most off the hook party you’ve ever had the pleasure of attending?
Featured image courtesy of Viaggio Routard.