How to Party Around the World All Year Slideshow
January 18, 2012
Even in January, when New Year's Eve hangovers last a full week, the world's revelers don't rest. Instead, the Bahamas hosts arguably its largest party, Junkanoo, through the night on the first day of the year. A street parade flows through the streets with live music, fantastic costumes, floats, and dancers who refuel on conch fritters, fresh pineapple, and local rum cocktails.
Later in the month, on Jan. 26, Australians celebrate Australia Day, their national holiday, with fireworks, barbecues, sports contests, boat races, music festivals across the country, and classic Aussie eats like pavlova, cookies shaped like koalas, meat pies, and lamingtons.
The world's most famous party happens every February on the streets of Rio de Janeiro — Carnival. There are versions the world over, but Rio's is the original and most raucous, with people from all over the world who come to party into the wee hours and munch on classic Brazilian street foods like feijoada, savory pastries, sausages, chicken hearts, and even shellfish stews, washed down with, what else, a caipirinha.
Then, one of the United States' most fabled and colorful festivals happens later in the month in New Orleans — Mardi Gras. It's a long day (and night) of street parades, masked balls, live music in every hall, and eating king cakes washed down with mojitos, all followed by brunch-time bloody marys.
Truly the world's most colorful festival, India's Holi festival sees locals and visitors crowd the streets to throw multicolored powders onto fellow revelers. Seasonal foods are traditionally prepared and indulged in each year such as aloo puri, sweet rice, papri, and bhang.
Of course, beverage-enthusiasts think of March as the month of St. Patrick's Day, which happens annually March 17 and is celebrated the world over. Celebrations for this Irish religious holiday range from costumed street parades and live music to hours-long pub crawls, and nowhere is it more boisterous than in Dublin, where green beers inspire green wigs and Technicolor costumed parades.
Amsterdam is no stranger to hard partying, but Queen's Day, held every year on April 30, takes it to another level, with locals and visitors hitting the streets to celebrate the Queen's "official" birthday. Everything from costumes to food is orange-hued, with dishes like carrot and pineapple salad, orange soup, pizza with paprika and ham, orange custard, and ample amounts of beer (orange-ish, right?).
In San Francisco, the Bay to Breakers Festival is among the very few wild parties that start with a race at 8 a.m. and end with boozing and live music. Costumes are encouraged for the race, which began in 1912, while the post-race festival features live bands and local food trucks such as Eat Curbside, Kung Fu Tacos, and Bi Bim Bop Bowl, as well as plenty of beer.
Who wouldn't want to join the wellie-clad jet-setters listening to the coolest music each year (except 2012, but it will be back in 2013) at Glastonbury? Muddy though it may be, Glastonbury is one of the world's best music festivals and draws crowds for the music, the scene, and some of the best festival food around — think more than 250 food stalls.
Every summer, people from around the world flock to Montreal for the International Jazz Festival, held from the end of June to early July. It's more than a week of well-fed, boozy, jazz-filled revelry, with festivalgoers who get to indulge in classic snacks like poutine before heading home.
The sultry sounds of the merengue infiltrate every nook and cranny of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic for the annual Fiesta de Merengue, the country's biggest annual event. For a week in July, the festival showcases merengue music, dancing, and choice local eats like plantains, local salamis, meaty empanadas, and sweet arroz con leche.
Just as loud, but in an entirely different way, the Calgary Stampede is an annual 10-day rodeo that brings throngs of visitors to Canada for Western-style revelry. Cowboy hats are welcome, and even if you don't watch the stampede, you can attend the many parties that surround it.
August tends to bring beach holidays and, for much of Europe, 30 days with little to no work. But in August, Spain hosts one of the messiest and most fun parties of the year, when roughly 30,000 people come together in the tiny Valencian town of Bunol to throw tomatoes at each other during La Tomatina.
What's in a name? Munich’s internationally known and loved beer festival may be called Oktoberfest, but it starts every year in late September. It is more than two weeks spent celebrating mugs of golden-hued beer and salty German pretzels, often served in enormous beer halls by ladies in lederhosen. Oktoberfest is the world's largest festival, drawing crowds in excess of 2 million each year.
One of the most anticipated holidays (and subsequent parties and parades) in the U.S. is Halloween — the costumed night of cocktails and candy. New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco host some of the largest and most wildly outfitted parades in the country each year, while younger trick-or-treaters are left ringing doorbells in the hopes of receiving Snickers bars.
In Mexico, the first two days of November are spent celebrating those who've passed. It may sound like a somber affair, but the Day of the Dead (a two-day festival) is actually full of color, light, music, and delicious traditional foods (and tequila). Revelers often set up tables and chairs in graveyards and celebrate the spirits of their loved ones with stunning spreads of food, baked goods, and cocktails.
Held every month, Thailand's infamous Full Moon Party starts to double in size and get really raucous later in the year. On the beach on Koh Phangan island, the party is an all-nighter, with endless booze and food supplied by restaurants, bars, and stalls set up on the white sandy beach.
Once Christmas dinners have been eaten and resolutions decided upon, it's time to party. New Year's Eve inspires some of the world's brightest and craziest parties, from Hogmanay in Scotland and fireworks-studded fetes in Rio to all-night beachy benders in Goa. Partygoers in Venice kiss each other in St. Mark's Square at the stroke of midnight, the ball drops on Manhattan, and in Spain, it's good luck to eat 12 grapes as the clock strikes 12.