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Top 10 Greatest Parties Around the World

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nicholas Roffey
These world-class celebrations are the biggest, wildest . . . and messiest. Welcome to MojoTravels, and today we're counting down our picks for the top 10 greatest parties around the world. For this list, we're looking at the world’s craziest festivals, holidays, and blowouts - excluding music festivals, which we’ve given their own list.

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Top 10 Greatest Parties Around the World

These world-class celebrations are the biggest, wildest . . . and messiest. Welcome to MojoTravels, and today we're counting down our picks for the top 10 greatest parties around the world. For this list, we're looking at the world’s craziest festivals, holidays, and blowouts - excluding music festivals, which we’ve given their own list.

#10: Koningsdag

Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Netherland’s capital is world famous for its red and green: red lights, and green herbs. But on April 27, revelers celebrating King’s Day turn the city’s streets and canals orange, in honour of the Royal House of Orange-Nassau. It’s essentially a nationwide birthday bash for the current monarch, King Willem-Alexander, with flea markets, outdoor concerts, and impromptu square and street parties throughout the country. The merrymaking reaches its apogee in already party-prone Amsterdam, which draws up to one million visitors eager to join in the festivities.

#9: Full Moon Party

Ko Pha-ngan, Thailand

Each month, the full moon visits an uncanny transformation on the island of Ko Pha-ngan. Once the domain of fishermen and coconut farmers, the island is now best known for it’s unruly Full Moon Parties, which see backpackers descend en masse onto the much-abused sands of Hat Rin. It’s the biggest, wildest beach party you’ll ever experience, a debaucherous blur of bodies, fire dancers, and alcohol buckets, enlivened by pounding electronic music from beachside bars. Love it or loathe it, once in a lifetime will probably be enough. But what a night it will be . . . if only you can remember.

#8: Boryeong Mud Festival

Boryeong, South Korea

Get ready to make a mess. The Boryeong Mud Festival might be the dirtiest party on our list . . . but we mean that in the best possible way. Kicked off in 1998 to promote cosmetics produced from the town’s mineral-rich mud,the ten-day festival sees Boryeong’s Daecheon Beach made over into an oozing, slippery celebration of mucky mayhem. There’s a mud pool, mudslide, mud prison, mud bodypainting, and of course, mud wrestling. The festivities are filled out with parades, fireworks, and music acts, culminating in a huge K-Pop concert on the second weekend of July. Attracting both locals and international travellers by the thousands, it’s good, filthy fun well worth the mess.

#7: La Tomatina

Buñol, Spain

For some people, a good time means good food. Well, here’s a twist on that formula. How about a good . . . food fight? On the last weekend of August, revellers paint the Valencian town of Buñol, red. It started back in 1945, when an ordinary festival devolved into an all-out food war between upset attendees. Turns out, it was a lot of fun; and La Tomatina was born. Now for one hour once a year, you too can be pelted with tomatoes . . . and hopefully get in a few good shots yourself.

#6: Songkran


Songkran is the world’s wettest holiday, a chance to pray, play, and spray all-in-one. Between April 13th and 15th, Thais usher in the traditional New Year by making merit at local temples, honouring their elders . . . and soaking complete strangers with copious, copious amounts of water. There are plenty of places to get in on the action, but Bangkok is a good bet, and in Thailand’s north, Chiang Mai is similarly soggy. Water guns, hoses, buckets, and even elephants; it’s all fair in love and water war. Getting drenched is good luck - so start splashing.

#5: Oktoberfest,

Munich, Germany

So far, we’ve had festivals about royals, fruits, even dirt. You might be wondering: where’s the beer? We’ve got you covered. Over the course of two weeks in September and October, Munich’s Oktoberfest serves up millions of gallons of Bavarian lager, with all brews conforming to Germany’s exacting Beer Purity Law. So pull up your lederhosen, or slip into your dirndl, and pick a beer tent. Each belongs to a different brewery, and provides different beer, food, and entertainment. You’ll have a hard time getting through all of them - but hey, points for trying.

#4: Holi


It’s gotta be the world’s most colorful festival - and might also be the smiliest. Held in February or March, the Hindu Festival of Color and Love celebrates the arrival of spring and the triumph of good over evil. It’s a time of ritual, renewal, forgiveness . . . and hitting people in the face with colored powder. This is what life must look like inside a watercolor painting. To spice things up, many participants also imbibe bhang, a traditional drink made from cannabis. The celebration is nationwide, but Mathura, Vrindavan, and Barsana in Uttar Pradesh really go all out.

#3: Burning Man

Black Rock Desert, Nevada, United States

Who knew a festival in the middle of nowhere would take off? Dedicated to self-expression and self-reliance, Burning Man attracts close to 70,000 participants a year. It’s difficult to explain what Burning Man is. But imagine a camp out, costume-dance party, and art festival had a baby, and you’ll come close. Most of all it’s a community where people can be themselves . . . or be something else entirely. Find yourself, find your passion, or just find your tent in this massive, sprawling extravaganza. The real beauty of Burning Man is that it’s something different to everyone.

#2: Mardi Gras

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

For two weeks leading up to Lent, merrymakers in New Orleans let it all out. It’s a feverish, madcap explosion of bacchanalian excess, with balls, parades, and street parties electrifying the city. Grab for loot as Carnival krewes rain down beads and doubloons from elaborate, larger-than-life floats. Or indulge in the boisterous debauchery of Bourbon Street in the city’s French Quarter. Elaborate masks, outrageous costumes, and willful indulgence are the hallmarks of the festival; so shimmy in, dress up, or dress down, and be part of the chaos.

#1: Carnival

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The “Greatest Show on Earth” is also the greatest party. On the Friday before Ash Wednesday, euphoric crowds flood Rio’s streets for Carnival, a six-day celebration that combines music, themed parades, and wild street parties. From the beaches to the Sambadrome, the city bursts with sound and color, as blocos and samba schools strut their stuff to sultry, irresistible beats. While Rio sees the biggest crowds and performances, Salvador’s street parties are second-to-none, and others swear by the footloose festivities in and around Recife . . . so you might just have to go at least thrice.

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