World's Wackiest Holidays

Think relying on a groundhog's shadow to predict the end of winter makes little sense? Check out even stranger celebrations from around the world.

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Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade
Macy's Thanksgiving Parade

Macy's Thanksgiving Parade

Giant balloon puppets like Spiderman debuted at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade back in 1927. Today, the annual event is one of the oldest Thanksgiving Day parades in the U.S. 960 1280

Michael Nagle/Getty Images  

Here Comes Santa!

Here Comes Santa!

Santa Claus rides on his sleigh down Central Park West during the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade in N.Y.C. St. Nick’s arrival at the parade's grand finale signals the official season's start to Christmas in N.Y.C. 960 1280

Reuters/Gary Hershorn   

Houston's H-E-B Holiday Parade

Houston's H-E-B Holiday Parade

Participants strike a pose in Houston's annual Thanksgiving celebration, which we’ve voted among the top Thanksgiving Day parades. The parade got a makeover in 2013, with renewed focus on everything from fashion, food and heroes; to culture, sports and talent. 960 1280

Sean Boyd/Houston Holiday Parade  

McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade

McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade

Make it a long weekend in Chicago, while checking out "Chicago's Grand Holiday Tradition." You just may see Teddy Turkey strut his stuff; he's been the parade mascot since 2009. 960 1280

Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar, flickr  

America's Thanksgiving Parade

America's Thanksgiving Parade

Giant balloons float above the street during Detroit's annual America's Thanksgiving Parade, which shares the title of second-oldest Thanksgiving parade (alongside the Macy's parade). Plus, check out our own Andrew Zimmern's Detroit-inspired pumpkin pie.
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Paul Warner, Getty Images  

Carolinas' Carrousel Parade

Carolinas' Carrousel Parade

Yep, that is "Carrousel" with two r's. Founded in 1947, this parade through Charlotte, N.C., is the fourth-largest in America, with an estimated 100,000 spectators. 960 1280

Charlotte Fire Deparment, flickr   

Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade

Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade

So what is the nation’s oldest Thanksgiving parade? Head to Philadelphia to find out! The 1.4-mile 6ABC Dunkin' Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade started in 1920, sponsored by a popular department store of the day. 960 1280

Gilbert Carrasquillo, Getty Images  

America's Hometown Parade

America's Hometown Parade

Upping the ante, America’s Hometown Parade, in Plymouth, Massachusetts, bills itself as “America’s only historically accurate, chronological parade.” Inspired by the Pilgrims’ establishment of Plymouth Colony, the parade foregoes giant balloons of popular characters for parade features based on the history of the U.S., from the 1600s up to the present, with a Santa Claus float at the end. 960 1280

Michael Springer, Getty Images  

Rex Parade for Mardi Gras
Here Comes Alice

Here Comes Alice

Partygoers and parade bystanders get excited as a float -- paying homage to the fairytale Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland -- rolls down Canal Street for the Rex parade. New Orleans lights up with excitement every year for Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Mardi Gras started in Louisiana in the late 17th century when the area was under French colonial rule. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Rex, the King of Carnival

Rex, the King of Carnival

Rex, the King of Carnival, parades down St. Charles Avenue during the Mardi Gras parade. 960 1280

Sean Gardner, Getty Images  

Rex Parade

Rex Parade

The Rex parade, pictured here, is one of New Orleans’ most celebrated Mardi Gras parades. It’s led by an organization (The School of Design), which chooses one member every year to wear the honorary title “Rex.” The distinction is one of the highest honors a person can receive in New Orleans. 960 1280

Getty  

Have Some Beads

Have Some Beads

Members of the Rex organization toss beads from a float to revelers. 960 1280

Patrick Semansky, Getty Images  

Zulu Parade

Zulu Parade

Catch the beads! A large crowd reaches up for beads as a Zulu parade float -- one of the more controversial parade participants, because of their exaggerated blackface -- rolls down New Orleans’ Canal Street on Mardi Gras. 960 1280

Getty  

Mardi Gras Colors

Mardi Gras Colors

Two revelers pass by a home before a Mardi Gras parade. Those decorations you see -- beads, ribbons, masks and streamers -- come in traditional Mardi Gras colors: green (symbolizing faith), gold (power) and purple (justice). 960 1280

Getty  

Bourbon Street

Bourbon Street

Crowds flock to Bourbon Street in the French Quarter during Mardi Gras Day. The annual Mardi Gras celebration ends at midnight, when the Catholic Lenten season begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday. 960 1280

Pat Semansky, Getty Images  

St. Charles Avenue

St. Charles Avenue

Joe Perez with the Mondo Kayo Social and Marching Club parades down St. Charles Avenue in the French Quarter. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Mardi Gras Faces

Mardi Gras Faces

Members of the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club ride on a float during the Mardi Gras parade. 960 1280

Patrick Semansky, Getty Images  

Krewe of Zulu

Krewe of Zulu

A reveler with the Krewe of Zulu parades down St. Charles Avenue. 960 1280

Skip Bolen, Getty Images  

Marching Club

Marching Club

Members of the Mondo Kayo Marching Club dance down St. Charles Avenue. 960 1280

Patrick Semansky, Getty Images  

Go, Saints!

Go, Saints!

New Orleans Saints fans dance to the beat of the famous song "When the Saints Go Marching In" at a bar on Bourbon Street. 960 1280

Sean Gardner, Getty Images  

French Quarter

French Quarter

Mardi Gras participants beg for beads to be tossed from a balcony in the French Quarter. 960 1280

Chris Graythen, Getty Images  

March Down St. Charles

March Down St. Charles

One of the main Mardi Gras parade routes, St. Charles Avenue is also home to an active business district. Here, members of the Krewe of Zulu ditch the corporate look for a vibrant march down the avenue. 960 1280

Sean Gardner, Getty Images  

Grab a Mask

Grab a Mask

A little drizzle can’t keep this reveler from celebrating Mardi Gras in New Orleans’ French Quarter. 960 1280

Visions of America, Getty Images  

Mardi Gras Dance

Mardi Gras Dance

A reveler shows off his elaborate costume during Mardi Gras festivities in New Orleans. 960 1280

Brian Nolan, Getty Images  

'80s Flashback

'80s Flashback

NOLA’s Mardi Gras attracts hundreds of people, including celebrities like '80s singer Cyndi Lauper, caught on camera heading to her float for the Krewe of Orpheus parade. 960 1280

Skip Bolen, Getty Images  

Krewe of Proteus

Krewe of Proteus

At the Krewe of Proteus parade, an excited crowd waits for people -- on top of this illuminated float -- to throw more beads to bystanders. 960 1280

Skip Bolen, Getty Images  

Mardi Gras   18 Photos

Hanukkah in Jerusalem’s Old City
Jerusalem’s Old City

Jerusalem’s Old City

A Hanukkah menorah (also known as a “chanukiah”) glows in front of the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site, in Jerusalem's Old City. The eight-day festival commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem during the 2nd century B.C. 960 1280

Reuters/Ronen Zvulun  

Mumbai, India

Mumbai, India

The father of a slain rabbi's wife lights a menorah in front of the landmark Gateway of India monument in Mumbai, a month after militants attacked several sites in the city, including a Jewish cultural center, back in 2008. Mumbai is currently home to eight synagogues. Plans are underway to rebuild the Jewish center.
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Pal Pillai/ AFP/ Getty Images  

Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C.

A menorah stands on the White House Ellipse during the annual national Hanukkah menorah-lighting ceremony in Washington, D.C. In 1979, Jimmy Carter became the first U.S. president to participate in a public Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony on the National Mall. Later, President Bill Clinton led the first ceremony of its kind inside the White House.  960 1280

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images  

N.Y.C.

N.Y.C.

Head to NYC to see the world’s largest Hanukkah menorah -- 32 feet high and weighing 4,000 pounds. The nine-branched, gold-colored steel candelabrum stands on Fifth Avenue and 59th Street, across from Central Park, during the holiday, and was designed by contemporary Israeli artist Yaacov Agam. 960 1280

Chris Hondros/Getty Images  

Berlin

Berlin

Rabbis Shmuel Segal and Yehuda Teichtal of the Jewish Orthodox group Chabad help erect a menorah in front of Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate on Dec. 7, 2012, ahead of Hanukkah celebrations. These days, Berlin is seeing a resurgence of Jewish life, including an estimated 20,000 Israelis. 960 1280

Reuters/Thomas Peter   

Paris

Paris

With the Eiffel Tower in the background, the chief rabbi of France (right) and the Israeli ambassador to France (center), prepare to light a menorah on Dec. 20, 2011, at the Champs de Mars in Paris. Today, France is home to nearly 500,000 Jews. 960 1280

Mehdi Fedouach/AFP/Getty Images   

London’s Trafalgar Square

London’s Trafalgar Square

London’s Trafalgar Square glows from the light of a giant menorah, as a crowd watches the festivities unfold. The lighting ceremony is an annual event in this central London space, in a city that’s home to roughly 250,000 Jews. 960 1280

Reuters/Luke MacGregor   

South Beach Miami

South Beach Miami

A menorah made out of... seashells? Yep, that’s right. This towering creation -- made of more than 10,000 seashells, each personally collected by the artist himself -- was the handiwork of jazz musician Roger Abramson. 960 1280

Wally Gobetz, flickr  

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