7 worldwide street party dates for your diary
Witnessing or taking part in a good street party is an unforgettable experience. Most people have heard about Carnival in Rio, St Patrick's Day in Dublin and Mardi Gras in New Orleans, but they're not the only ones. We've rounded up seven of our favourite street parties from around the world. Arriba!
1. Holi, India
February or March (dates vary annually, according to the full moon)
Known as the Festival of Colour, Holi is a Hindu festival that's celebrated all over India - and beyond - by people throwing brightly coloured powder at each other. Wear old clothes and join in the colourful celebrations, celebrating the beginning of spring.
2. La Tomatina, Spain
Last Wednesday in August
The world’s biggest food fight happens near Valencia every August, when 20,000 people gather to throw tomatoes at each other. It all started when a mischievous group of locals had a tomato fight in 1945, and decided to repeat it exactly a year later. These days, the authorities sell tickets for fear of overcrowding.
3. Australia Day, Perth and all over Australia
Those laid-back Aussies know a thing or two about kicking back and partying, and Australia Day plays to their strengths. Expect beer, barbecues and banter. Perth plays host to the biggest parties, including a world-famous fireworks display, Skyworks, that'll be a highlight of any trip down under.
4. Barranquilla, Columbia
Starts the Saturday before Ash Wednesday (runs for four days)
Dating back to the 19th century, Columbia’s Carnival de Barranquilla is one of the biggest carnivals in the world. The town’s streets come alive with dancing, parades and performances. Look out for the crowning of the carnival king and queen, and the reading of the Lectura del Bando – basically a proclamation that everyone must dance and have fun. Right you are!
5. Bay to Breakers race, San Francisco
Third Sunday of May
This race runs from San Francisco Bay to Ocean Beach on the Pacific coast, and is famous for the fact that its participants (and spectators) like to dress up in crazy costumes. Or, occasionally, no costume at all… This is San Francisco, after all. The race was first held in 1912 and these days, you’ll find 50,000 cheering fans, live music and a party atmosphere everywhere – even on the track itself.
6. King’s Day, The Netherlands
King’s Day was known as Queen’s Day until the accession of King Willem-Alexander in 2013, but the celebration is the same, and being in Amsterdam for it is an experience not to be missed. The city turns completely orange, streets are closed and a million people turn out to party all night to celebrate their monarch. Wear something orange, bring some cash for the flea markets and head to the Museumplein for the biggest outdoor concert, or stroll alongside the canals and watch the parties unfold. Long live the King!
7. Songkran, Thailand
13th - 15th April
Songkran marks the Thai new year, and it’s best described as a huge waterfight that involves absolutely everybody. Even elephants get involved. Head to Chang Mai, where the best parties happen, and don’t forget to pack your water pistol.