Presents, food, quality time with family -- it's all bullshit. When you really want to celebrate a holiday (we're talking irresponsible and dangerous new ways of partying; we're talking celebrating so hard that it'll wind up costing you jobs in the future; we're talking frolicking that will make you walk funny for the rest of the year), you need to ditch those loser events like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and National Duck Day. If you want a real party, a party so awesome, it stops being awesome and starts being more like a violent, bloody war on the concept of fun, well, friend, look no further than ...
Dosojin Matsuri -- Get Drunk and Commit Arson for Religion
Held every January 15, Dosojin Matsuri starts with villagers in Nozawa Onsen, Japan, building a 60-foot fort on the edge of town. Isn't that nice? For once they're celebrating by building something, rather than tearing it down in a drunken rage. Then the villagers see how quickly they can replace their blood with sake, light up some torches, and start a-marchin'. Their goal is to take that beautiful building they literally just constructed and make that motherfucker burn.
"Burn the fort! Burn ourselves! Burn the snow! Burn the air!"
Standing in their way is a group of 25-year-old men with sticks. Why 25? Because that's the age where boys become men -- so why not have them prove it by facing down the entire rest of the village, who have suddenly been possessed by drunken pyromancers?
And so the battle is joined: Alcohol-fueled villagers swing their torches at the increasingly nervous guards, who try to stave off fiery destruction for as long as possible. And not just because they really like new construction (it's the sign of a booming economy!): See, there are a bunch of 42-year-old men at the top of the shrine. They must be 42 because, in Japanese, 42 translates to shi ni, which alternately means "to die." Their goal is to symbolically cheat death by escaping the burning building before it goes up, which is somewhat arrogantly assuming that they won't die in the ensuing blaze.
The fort includes an escape ladder. The ladder is not fireproof.