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 87th annual event is one of the oldest Thanksgiving Day parades in the US. 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 NYC. St. Nick’s arrival at the parade's grand finale signals the official season's start to Christmas in NYC. 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. Now 64 years strong, the parade gets 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," now in its 80th year. 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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Carolinas' Carrousel Parade

Carolinas' Carrousel Parade

Yep, that is "Carrousel" with 2 r's. Founded in 1947, this parade through Charlotte, NC, is the fourth-largest in America, with an estimated 100,000 spectators. In 2013, though, it didn't look like the parade would happen, until a corporate sponsor stepped in and saved the day. 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

M. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia/GPTMC  

America's Hometown Parade

America's Hometown Parade

Upping the ante, America’s Hometown Parade, in Plymouth, MA, 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 US, from the 1600s up to the 2000s, with a Santa Claus float at the end. 960 1280

Denise Maccaferri  

Seattle Macy's Day Parade

Seattle Macy's Day Parade

It’s not just NYC that has a Macy’s Day Parade, The Emerald City does, too. Grab your hat and coat (it’s forecast to rain) and head to Seattle for the city’s annual Thanksgiving parade. See more than 20 balloon floats, 600 costumed characters, local marching bands and some adorable St. Bernards. 960 1280

Robert Charter  

Ameren Missouri Thanksgiving Day Parade

Ameren Missouri Thanksgiving Day Parade

In 2013, this St. Louis Thanksgiving parade celebrates its 29th year. Featuring over 130 parade units, the Ameren Missouri Thanksgiving Day Parade starts in downtown St. Louis and concludes on 10th Street; you’ll see why St. Louis truly is an all-American town. 960 1280

Christmas in St. Louis  

Puerto Rican Day Parades
Puerto Rican Day Parades

Puerto Rican Day Parades

Locals celebrate during the National Puerto Rican Day Parade along 5th Avenue in Manhattan. Held on the second Sunday in June, it has become one of the largest parades in New York City with nearly 2 million spectators each year. Annual parades are also head in downtown Chicago and Philadelphia. 960 1280

Oquendo, Creative Commons License  

Old San Juan

Old San Juan

Colors of the rainbow brighten the downtown streets of San Juan. The capital is one of Puerto Rico’s most important seaports and one of the busiest in the Caribbean. 960 1280

iStock  

San Juan

San Juan

San Juan is known for its beautiful beaches -- but did you know that it’s also the second-oldest European city established in the Americas, second only to Santo Domingo? 960 1280

Image by Oquendo through Creative Commons License  

El Morro Coast

El Morro Coast

A gorgeous view of San Juan Bay from El Morro. Also known as San Felipe Fort, El Morro Castle is a 16th-century, 6-level fortress that rises 140 feet above sea level. 960 1280

ThinkStock  

Tostones

Tostones

Tostones, or twice-fried green (unripe) plantains, are a popular Puerto Rican dish. They’re served as an appetizer or side dish much like potato chips or French fries. 960 1280

iStock  

Capitol of Puerto Rico

Capitol of Puerto Rico

The Capitol of Puerto Rico, also referred to as Palacio de las Leyes (the Palace of the Laws) is located just outside the walls of Old San Juan. It was built in 1907, when Puerto Rico was still a colony of the United States. 960 1280

ThinkStock  

Empanadas

Empanadas

Empanadas, made of of steak, chicken or fish breaded in flour and fried, are a delicious favorite dish in Puerto Rico and throughout South America. Just don’t confuse them with empanadillas, crescent-shaped turnovers filled with lobster, crab, conch or beef. 960 1280

iStock  

San Felipe Fort

San Felipe Fort

Behind the 18-foot-thick wall, El Morro is a maze of tunnels, dungeons and small, circular sentry boxes called garitas that have come to symbolize Puerto Rico. 960 1280

ThinkStock  

Combate Beach

Combate Beach

In the south western tip of Puerto Rico known as Cabo Rojo, Combate Beach is a great escape from busy San Juan. 960 1280

iStock  

Bacalaito

Bacalaito

A favorite Puerto Rican dish is bacalaito, a codfish fritter. Bacalao (salted, dried codfish) is also the main ingredient in traditional Puerto Rican fish stew. 960 1280

iStock  

Casa de España

Casa de España

The Casa de España, a beautiful home in San Juan that’s not open to the public, hosts many events and is a photographers' dream. This estate was designed in 1932 by Puerto Rican architect Pedro de Castro. 960 1280

  

Taro Root

Taro Root

Several traditional Puerto Rican dishes are made with taro root. A similar root known as yautía is interchangeable with taro, and both are used in dishes such as sopón de pollo con arroz (chicken soup with rice). 960 1280

iStock  

Puerto Rico Day  12 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 8-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 8 synagogues. Plans are underway to rebuild the Jewish center.
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Pal Pillai/ AFP/ Getty Images  

Washington, DC

Washington, DC

A menorah stands on the White House Ellipse during the annual national Hanukkah menorah-lighting ceremony in Washington, DC. In 1979, Jimmy Carter became the first US 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  

NYC

NYC

Head to NYC to see the world’s largest Hanukkah menorah -- 32 feet high and weighing 4,000 pounds. The 9-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. These days, 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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