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! 960 1280

Image by visualthinker through the Flickr Creative Commons  

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  

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

Reuters  

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

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

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

Reuters   

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

Getty Images   

Krewe of Zulu

Krewe of Zulu

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

Reuters   

Marching Club

Marching Club

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

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

Getty Images  

French Quarter

French Quarter

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

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

Reuters  

Grab a Mask

Grab a Mask

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

Reuters  

Mardi Gras Dance

Mardi Gras Dance

A reveler dances in his festive tent dress and elaborate costume during Mardi Gras festivities in New Orleans. 960 1280

Reuters  

'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

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

Getty Images  

Mardi Gras   18 Photos

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