The 7 Most Unexpectedly Awesome Parties in History

We have it better than our ancestors in every way but one: How raging our parties are.
The 7 Most Unexpectedly Awesome Parties in History

We have it way better than our forefathers. We've got cooler weapons, better hygiene, thousands of new drugs and Flamin' Hot Cheetos. And yet, despite our massive technological advantage and larger brains and even bigger Cheetos guts, we're still far behind our ancestors in one important category: the bitchingness of our parties.

The history books prove it.

Victory Day

The 7 Most Unexpectedly Awesome Parties in History

Everyone who wasn't a Nazi had reason to celebrate Germany's surrender in the Second World War. In the U.K., tens of thousands of Londoners partied in Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square like it was 1999. In the U.S., half a million people packed into Times Square until Mayor LaGuardia literally told them to go home. In Paris, the French celebrated as if winning the war was their idea all along, and in Rome, the Italians shook hands with one another as if the whole thing was just a big soccer game. Meek and mild Canada surprised everyone by pulling the old "celebrate by rioting and looting liquor stores" standby.

The 7 Most Unexpectedly Awesome Parties in History

A literal demon lurks behind this placid facade.

But once news reached Moscow that the Soviets had just won their Lord of the Rings-esque war for survival against the Germans invaders, let's just say that they partied in a way that would have made 1999 order a cup of coffee and think very seriously about giving up the bottle. The party started when the official invitation was delivered at 1:10 a.m. on May 9, 1945, by the chief announcer of Radio Moscow.

Then Shit Got Out of Hand ...

Moscow's celebration of the surrender of Germany just might be the single largest spur-of-the-moment anything in history. Thousands of people immediately took to the streets to transform one of the largest cities on the planet into "a sea of vodka," many of them still in their nightclothes.

The 7 Most Unexpectedly Awesome Parties in History

It was kind of a big deal.

Muscovites went on bar-crawls past the embassies of the Allied nations, which sure enough joined in the vodkafest with some of their own alcohol. By the time Joseph Stalin addressed the nation after 22 hours of partying, the entire city's liquor reservoirs were bone dry. As one reporter put it, "I was lucky to buy a liter of vodka at the train station when I arrived, because it was impossible to buy any later ... There was no vodka in Moscow on May 10, we drank it all."

That's right. That was the day Russia ran out of vodka.

The 7 Most Unexpectedly Awesome Parties in History

They were down to chugging pesticide by the end.

Andrew Jackson Destroys the White House. Twice.

The 7 Most Unexpectedly Awesome Parties in History

... And one of those times involved an enormous wheel of cheese.

When Andrew Jackson assumed the presidency on March 4, 1829, his first act in office was to show everyone what was what by throwing a huge party. More than 20,000 people showed up for his inaugural open house at the White House, during which the crowd got so rowdy that Jackson was forced to sneak out a window. It wasn't until someone had the bright idea to place tubs of whiskey on the White House lawn that Jackson was able to sneak back into the house and actually start being president.

The 7 Most Unexpectedly Awesome Parties in History

The Secret Service ruins everything.

Yet as great as it was, "Open House at the White House '29" paled in comparison to Jackson's grand finale: the Great Cheese Party of 1837.

Then Shit Got Out of Hand ...

In 1835, a Col. Thomas Meecham of New York paraded into Washington to present President Jackson with a 1,400-pound wheel of cheese, just as a reminder to everyone of how awesome the 19th century was. The cheese fermented for more than a year while Jackson took out an ad in the paper to invite the whole country to help him eat his cheese.

The 7 Most Unexpectedly Awesome Parties in History


Once Cheese Day arrived, more than 10,000 patriotic citizens answered their call of duty. It was said that you could smell cheese from a half mile in every direction from the White House, and it took the crowd two hours to devour the enormous piece of cheese, after which Jackson was awarded a carriage made out of hickory sticks -- which frankly we didn't even know was possible.

The 7 Most Unexpectedly Awesome Parties in History

Clearly, this was an age of miracles.

With his vendetta against whoever built the White House complete, Jackson proudly handed the keys to the nation over to the incoming president, Martin Van Buren. And he was probably glad to hightail it out of there, because thanks to the cheese thoroughly ground into the mansion's carpets, couches and tapestries, the White House stank for weeks.

The 7 Most Unexpectedly Awesome Parties in History

To say nothing of what all that cheese did to the septic system.

The Field of the Cloth of Gold

The 7 Most Unexpectedly Awesome Parties in History

Diplomatic conferences between belligerent nations with long histories of animosity are very rarely the sites of bitchin' parties. In fact, no matter how much C-Span we watch, no one at Cracked has ever seen a diplomat shotgun a jug of wine and tackle a foreign emissary.

The 7 Most Unexpectedly Awesome Parties in History

This scene is just begging for a drop kick.

So when Henry VIII of England decided to ally himself with appropriately named Francis I of France in 1520, you can imagine things were going to be a little tense. And by "tense"' we mean "outrageously flamboyant."

Then Shit Got Out of Hand ...

Who would have thought that two nobles who looked like this:

The 7 Most Unexpectedly Awesome Parties in History


... would empty their national treasuries to outdo each other in a three week orgy of extravagance and waste?

There were massive fountains that flowed with wine, tents woven out of gold cloth and mind-boggling feasts that lasted for days on end. The centerpiece was a 12,000-square-foot tent painted to look like a castle, because what's an international goodwill festival without a 12,000-square-foot tent painted to look like a castle? Woodstock, that's what.

The 7 Most Unexpectedly Awesome Parties in History

There was also slightly less jousting at Woodstock.

But the real fun was in the jousting, games, music, archery contests and other batshit things people used to do before they invented TV. At one point, things got so out of hand that both monarchs decided to compete against each other in that most dignified of contests, wrestling.

Henry, giddy over his successes, rode the testosterone train by grabbing King Francis I by the collar and offering a challenge worthy of Rowdy Roddy Piper. Francis I wrestled Henry VIII's royal ass to the ground, Henry got pissed, and the battle royale abruptly brought the epic party to an end. The two left still at odds, and Henry even ended up forging an alliance with Francis' rival, Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire. Within a month, all three monarchs were at war.

The 7 Most Unexpectedly Awesome Parties in History

So much for peace, love and happiness, eh?

The Signers of the Constitution Celebrate Their Big Win in Philly


The U.S. Constitution wasn't just born in a patriotic explosion of fireworks, bald eagle feathers and Toby Keith songs -- it took five months of tedious finagling among some of the brightest minds in American history to make it happen. And when they finally got it written, you can bet the Founding Fathers were ready to let their wigs loose.


Coming soon from Cracked: Absinthe and the American Revolution.

So Philadelphia threw a sweet-ass party for George Washington and all 55 delegates on Sept. 15, just two days before they actually signed the Constitution. Showing up to the tavern were no fewer than four legendary founders who would later grace their own currency: George Washington, Ben Franklin, Alexander Hamilton and James "On the $5,000 Bill" Madison.

Yeah, if Ben Franklin was there, you know things were going to get rowdy.


It's time to get Franked up in here.

Then Shit Got Out of Hand ...

Let's have a look at the tab: Between Madison's keg-stands and Hamilton's mad beer-pong skills, the 55 delegates put away more than 100 bottles of wine, 22 bottles of porter, 12 bottles of beer, eight bottles of whiskey, eight bottles of hard cider and seven bowls of spiked punch.

Yes, we're pretty sure that is more alcohol than science says 55 humans should be able to consume without dying on the spot.

Even more hilarious is the fact that the innkeeper added a two percent fee to their (sizable) bill for the damage they did. It included a breakage fee for the broken bottles, tables, punch bowls and chamber pots.

The 7 Most Unexpectedly Awesome Parties in History


Now don't you feel cheated that your elementary school history teacher didn't bother to tell you about the time George Washington and Ben Franklin apparently got into a drunken chamber pot fight?

The Inaugural Games of the Colosseum

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You know how some people get excited when we're the first ones to comment on a post? This party was kind of like that, except instead of celebrating being the first person to say "FIRST" on someone else's work, the Romans were celebrating being the first ones to use the Colosseum, one of the most massive and architecturally impressive structures in the world history.

The 7 Most Unexpectedly Awesome Parties in History

Then Shit Got Out of Hand ...

Work in Rome drew to a halt for more than three months as the citizens partied their hearts out in a wine-drenched furor, with more than 9,000 animals slaughtered in the celebration. By way of comparison, the largest stadium in the U.S. is Michigan Stadium, and despite having a capacity of 109,000, it was the site of no animal murders whatsoever at its opening game.

Slaughtering 9,000 animals and Zeus-knows how many gladiators in a 100-day orgy of liquor and bloodshed would be enough to pump most nations up. Not Rome. In addition to the fights and plays and sacrifices, Emperor Titus commissioned two naumachia, or mock naval battles. Unlike gladiatorial fights, which rarely actually ended in death, naumachia were incredibly bloody. The Colosseum was flooded, actual battleships were constructed inside it, and whole armies of thousands fought to the death in an artificial ocean.

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FIRST! (to die in a fake naval battle in the Colosseum).

Alexander the Great Gets Drunk, Burns Down a City

The 7 Most Unexpectedly Awesome Parties in History

After finally capturing Persepolis, the cultural jewel of the Achaemenid Empire/ancient Persia, Alexander the Great and his Macedonian army decided to celebrate with one of the most consequential parties in history. They called it a symposium, but it basically amounted to getting shit-faced, with the occasional male bonding on the side.

The 7 Most Unexpectedly Awesome Parties in History

As depicted here.

Then Shit Got Out of Hand ...

According to Historiae Alexandri Magni, Alexander's Macedonian soldiers were emotional drunks. After discussing the matter with, no joke, a "drunken whore," Alexander finished his wine, smashed the bottle on his head and settled on one hell of a damning conclusion for Persepolis: "Why do we not avenge Greece, then, and put the city to the torch?"

The 7 Most Unexpectedly Awesome Parties in History

Fun Fact: The entire Macedonian army was blind, horse-shitting drunk absolutely every step of its march to India.

At which point a plastered Alexander the Great personally directed his blitzed men on "a drunken orgy" to avenge their Greek neighbors by burning the Persian capital to the ground. It was the city Alexander had marched to the ends of the Earth to conquer, yet there he was, destroying it with torch in hand and with music playing in the background ... which we should probably mention was all the drunk girl's idea.

Sure enough, Alexander was pretty embarrassed once he sobered up the next morning. The entire city was destroyed, Alexander's Macedonians humiliated and His Greatness suffering from one hell of a hangover to boot.

The 7 Most Unexpectedly Awesome Parties in History

Which he dealt with by getting hammered again and conquering another ancient city.

The Funeral for the Wari Civilization

The 7 Most Unexpectedly Awesome Parties in History

Few civilizations in history can lay claim to as epic an exit as the Wari of pre-Columbian South America. Instead of falling victim to conquest, plague or a Baghdad-sized dose of Mongols, these proud few checked out of history's Hotel California in a way any nation would be proud of: through a party so spectacularly awesome that 1,000 years later, we still don't know why it happened. All we have are the artifacts left over from a people who, for whatever reason, got together and had one massive bash before disappearing from the Earth forever.

The 7 Most Unexpectedly Awesome Parties in History

But hey, you see one big fire dance and you've seen 'em all.

Then Shit Got Out of Hand ...

How much booze did the Wari need for this little get-together? Let's put it this way: They built their own sacred super-brewery for the occasion. One designed to produce as much as 1,000 liters of brew per day.


Which is all right for pre-partying, we guess.

After drinking themselves to a stupor, the Wari promptly kicked their party to 11 by burning down the sacred brewery, because fuck the next civilization that comes along wanting beer.

The Wari lords then tossed their cups into the fire in what is believed to have been a ceremonial closing rite for their culture, said their goodbyes and walked their separate ways into the annals of history as the faded echoes of "The Final Countdown" roared in their ears.

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And check out more occurrences that left us scratching our heads in 6 People Who Just Fucking Disappeared and 6 Insane Discoveries That Science Can't Explain.

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