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100 things to do before you die: party!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

65. Oktoberfest, Germany
Germany has many colourful festivals keeping old traditions alive. The Oktoberfest beer festival in Munich dates back to the celebration of Ludwig I and Princess Therese of Sachsen-Hildburghausen's wedding in 1810. It began with a horse race, other events were added and today the main attraction at the end of each September is the beer festival.

Only six breweries are permitted to serve beer at Oktoberfest — Löwenbräu, Spaten, Augustiner, Hofbrau, Paulaner and Hacker-Pschorr. Beer accompanies typical hearty German food such as sausage, chicken, sauerkraut and oxtail.

Entry to the 50-metre-long, two-storey tents is free and beer is sold only to those who are seated.

66. Naadam Festival, Mongolia
The landlocked country of Mongolia was for many years a province of China but is now a flourishing democracy. It was one of the last places on earth to open to tourism and many people are falling in love with the country and its people.

If you fancy a Chinggis Khan-type Mongolian experience, go at Naadam time, July 11-13 each year. They celebrate their 1921 revolution and eventual independence with great fervour over a three-day period in Ulaan Baatar, the capital. Mongolia is one of the last nomadic countries and during Naadam, around 750,000 people arrive and set up camp at Tent City.

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The festival began as a way for warriors to keep fit between wars and wrestling, archery and horseriding are fought out over the three days, with culture playing an important role as well.

67. Carnivale, Rio de Janeiro
The modern Brazilian Carnival finds its roots in Rio de Janeiro in the 1830s when the city's bourgeoisie began holding balls and masquerade parties, just the way they did in Paris. Over time the festival took on elements from local African and Amerindian cultures.

Held at the peak of summer each year, it attracts thousands of people from around the world. It begins seven weeks before Easter on Saturday and ends on Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. It is Rio's biggest party of the year and is full of colour, fun, outlandish costumes and food and drink.

68. Mardi Gras, Sydney
The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is an annual gay pride parade and festival. It is one of the largest such events in the world and began in 1978 as a protest march. Still going strong, the 2006 parade had 6500 entrants on colourful and outrageous floats, many with a political bent. The parade is 1.6km long with crowds of spectators lining the route. The streets are still full of party-makers the following afternoon. It is held late each February.

69. Cannes Film Festival, France
Cannes was founded in 1939 and is one of the world's most prestigious film festivals — many think the most prestigious. It is held each May in the south of France. The non-public festival is attended by many film stars and many producers launch their films there, hoping to sell to distributors from around the world.

The jury is made up of a small selection of international movie professionals. The most prestigious award is the Palme d'Or for the best film. The Grand Prix is the second-most prestigious.

70. Sapporo Ice Festival, Japan
Sapporo, on Japan's second largest island Hokkaido, hosts an amazing Snow Festival each February. At least two million people flock to see the hundreds of extraordinary snow statues and ice sculptures in Odori Park.

For seven days the large and small statues and sculptures turn Sapporo into a winter dreamland of crystal-like ice and white snow.

For further information:

65. Oktoberfest

66. Naadam Festival
Karakorum Expeditions
Ph/fax: 0011 976 1131 5655

67. Carnivale, Rio de Janeiro

68. Mardi Gras, Sydney

69. Cannes Film Festival
Website: www.festival-cannes

70. Sapporo Ice Festival
Japan National Tourist Organisation
Ph: (02) 9251 3024
Fax: (02) 9251 3031

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