4 Insane New Year's Celebrations from Around the World
New Year's Eve is more or less uniformly celebrated around the world with gallons of alcohol and a slideshow of poor decisions. But in some countries, New Year's revelers aren't content with mere "bad" decisions and up the ante to "totally insane" (the alcohol consumption stays pretty much the same, though).
The Netherlands -- Milk Jug Cannons and the New Year's Dive
Carbide shooting has been a Dutch New Year's Eve tradition since World War II, when the Netherlands were left with an abundance of explosive materials and absolutely nothing interesting going on. Once a year, Dutch farmers fill up their old milk buckets with carbide and water, then hammer the caps back on and heat them up, resulting in a row of homemade metal cannons that are fired off in celebration. Meanwhile, the farmers get to experience the joy of hoping that none of them explode in their faces and turn them into Tommy Lee Jones from Batman Forever.
"Happy Third Degree Burn Day!"
The next morning, the traditional New Year's Dive sees thousands of severely hung-over party revelers stripping down to their underwear and/or Dutch nudity and sprinting into the freezing ocean.
The best part is the three guys wearing T-shirts, as if that'll help.
It is unclear whether the Waldo hats are provided or if they have to be brought from home.
Thailand -- Nationwide Water Fight
Songkran, celebrated in Thailand, is the traditional ceremony of washing statues of Buddha and the hands of elders so they may enter the year with a clean spirit. Modern-day Songkran has become a life-endangering countrywide water-gun fight, because anything worth doing is worth overdoing until people die from it.
That's actually kind of Cracked's motto.
Thousands of people, armed with knockoff Super Soakers and water balloons, climb aboard pickup trucks and elephants to assault friends, neighbors, and complete strangers for three straight days. The staggering amount of alcohol involved, combined with the fact that literally every human being in Thailand is fair game (from old ladies carrying groceries to people riding scooters while holding infants), consistently makes the week of Songkran the deadliest seven days in the entire country.
Ecuador -- Cross-Dressing and Burning Effigies in the Street
Ecuador's New Year's celebration is all about trying to forget the bad luck and grievances of the past 365 days. They do this by building effigies (called "viejos") of everything from real-world political figures to Batman, stuffing them with fireworks, and burning them in the middle of the street.
"Fuck you, The Thing!"
Because nothing says "Happy New Year" like immolating the kid from Hey Arnold!
Meanwhile, men assume the role of the "viudas" (or "widows") of the smoldering carcasses, dressing in drag and dancing in the street to beg for money to pay for their recently incinerated husbands' funerals (a phrase which here means "to pay for their drunken cross-dressing rampage"). This is presumably to cast out any doubt of the celebration's bugshit lunacy.
"Happy New Year, give us your bumper!"
South Africa -- Throwing Furniture Out of the Window
In the Hillbrow neighborhood of downtown Johannesburg, South Africa, New Year's Eve is a riot. And we don't mean in the "TV Guide buzzword review of a Kathy Griffin special" way -- we mean in the "shotgun a case of Four Loko and burn this motherfucker down" way.
If it doesn't end with you naked on your porch and screaming, was it really a holiday?
In order to cleanse their homes for the new year, residents throw furniture and appliances out of their windows onto the streets below, because as we all know, these items have a brief shelf life and it simply wouldn't do to keep them in your apartment beyond their expiration dates. The rain of debris routinely injures dozens of people, because for some reason the fact that refrigerators fall out of the sky on the exact same day every year fails to keep people indoors. The problem has gotten so bad in recent years that police have begun dispatching helicopters to patrol the rooftops weeks in advance, searching for residents stockpiling projectiles for the upcoming re-enactment of Pink Floyd's "Hey You" music video.
The hobos live like kings this day.