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Some of the biggest parties in the world are waiting for you to visit. Whether you’re attending Mardis Gras in New Orleans, watching the ball drop in NYC, or getting your color on at Holi Festival in Nepal—there’s something for everyone. Many of these parties are family-friendly, too. So grab your passport and let’s go!
Have you been to any of these?
The Biggest Parties in the World:
1. Holi Festival
Location: Predominantly in Nepal or India
Date: March 9-10
Holi is an ancient Hindu festival and is sometimes called the Festival of Colors. Some people celebrate Holi as a signal to the end of harvest season, much like Thanksgiving. People from all over the world travel for Holi, even non-Hindu people. You’ll spend the day throwing colored powder at each other, spraying water, dancing, and having fun.
2. Rio Carnival
Location: Rio de Janeiro
Date: February 21-26
Considered the biggest festival in the world, Rio Carnival is held every year just before Lent. It’s not a new tradition, either—the first Rio Carnival dates all the way back to 1723. Participate in the big parade, several parties, and many open-air performances. Prepare for it to be packed—about two million people are on the streets per day for the entire festival.
3. La Tomatina
Location: Buñol, Spain
Date: August 26
Is this the world’s largest food fight? Perhaps. At La Tomatina, you’ll participate in an enormous tomato-throwing fight. This party is about 19 miles from the Mediterranean in the East of Spain. You’re probably going to want to bring clothes you don’t care about, plus some goggles. This is definitely a party the entire family will enjoy.
4. Lantern Festival
Location: All over China, but the biggest is at Confucius Temple, Qinhuai Scenic Zone, Nanjing
Date: January 25 to February 11
Marking the first day of Chinese New Year celebrations, the Lantern Festival is also one of the oldest running festivals in the world—it dates back over 2,000 years! It’s a time for reunions with family, for fun, and for freedom. Witness parades, solve riddles on the lanterns and enjoy lots of delicious food while at the Lantern Festival.
5. New Years Eve Ball Drop
Location: Time’s Square, NYC, USA
Date: December 31
Located in Times Square, you can witness a giant ball drop 141 feet in the final 60 seconds of the year. You’ll want to eat a large meal before getting lined up the morning of December 31st, plus go to the bathroom before entering Times Square. You’ll be standing out in the cold all day and night without a place to go to the bathroom—unless you feel like losing your spot. If that’s not your jam, attend a NYE party at a hotel, restaurant, or bar instead.
6. Mardis Gras
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Date: February 25
While you can celebrate Mardis Gras all over Louisiana, you’re going to find some of the best parties in New Orleans. While receiving Mardis Gras beaded necklaces is a big tradition, many don’t know about the Zulu coconut. It started back when Lloyd Lucas couldn’t afford to buy beads, so he and a few others went to the market to get coconuts to give away. These Zulu coconuts are now decorated with faces, and people are delighted to get one.
7. St. Patrick's Day
Location: All over the world, but it’s the most fun to celebrate in Ireland
Date: March 17
St. Patrick’s Day is dedicated to the traditional death date of Saint Patrick. It’ll be pretty packed if you attend an event in Dublin, but you can find parties all over the world to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. You can find parades, festivals, céilís, and lots of green shamrocks.