History books are ripe with events that largely cover more tumultuous periods of human history. From wars to treaties back to wars, it’s generally difficult to find more lighthearted stories. That’s mainly because these differences and battles have shaped our world to a greater degree and, if we’re being honest, it’s good to study these events as to not make the same mistakes of the past.
That being said, do you have any idea of what we’ve been missing out on!?
You won’t learn about crazy, extravagant parties in history class, so we decided to put together a list of the wildest bashes in history. These celebrations truly deserve to be remembered. Why? Well, before we start, let’s just say that frat parties and beach parties have got nothing on these!
The White House Rager of 1829
We can only assume that behind closed doors, the newly elected presidents of the United States hold lavish celebrations with friends and family? And why not? After all, it’s not every day one gets to become the leader of the free world.
But President Andrew Jackson took these celebrations to a whole new level with an event that nearly destroyed the White House altogether. When he was elected in 1829 he decided to invite a drunken gang of supporters to party with him, which would have been just fine if he hadn’t also declared that his inauguration would be an open house.
At that point, even more, supporters showed up. As many as 20,000 people took over the White House and the party got so rowdy at some point that Old Hickory himself reportedly jumped out a window in an attempt to escape the crowds.
Needless to say, the building suffered extensive damages. So much so, in fact, that the newly elected president had to ask Congress for $50,000 to redecorate.
How did they manage to get rid of the crowds? Free liquor was promised to those who would leave, which is not surprising, as reports say that most of the party goers arrived drunk anyway.
The Ancient Egyptians Held A Festival Of Drunkenness
What does a typical party really entail? For most of us, partying is a fun way to get to hang out with our friends. Alcohol is just par for the course. But at the core, the point of a party is to have fun, right?
Well, tell that to the ancient Egyptians who hosted a festival dedicated to getting drunk.
According to Egyptian mythology, the only thing that stood between mankind and its untimely demise was the fact that Hathor, the goddess said to carry out the murder spree, got too drunk and passed out. Naturally, the only way to commemorate our salvation would be to throw an absolutely wild party. The aim? Get blackout drunk.
The Egyptians danced, lit torches, and “traveled through the marshes”, an expression that historians think may refer to sex. It is said that people from all walks of like took part in the festivities together.
Times Square Became An Impromptu Party On V-J Day
What’s the right way to celebrate the end of a long, atrocious war? Well, ask any New Yorker that lived through August 14, 1945 and they’ll tell you there’s no party like a Times Square party.
That was the day when Japan surrendered, finally putting an end to World War II. Naturally, thousands of people gathered in Times Square to celebrate, undoubtedly letting go of years of sorrow, anguish, war weariness and fear. What followed was a party for the ages, complete with a drop of all inhibitions. People drank, danced, kissed, and even picked fights.
You might recognized the famous (maybe now infamous?) picture taken on the day of. The sailor in the picture, photographed by Alfred Eisenstaedt, grabbed a nearby nurse and kissed her right then and there, presumably out of sheer joy. It was once seen as a picture that perfectly encapsulated the feeling of joy in Time Square that day but nowadays people claim it’s just a picture of sexual assault. After all, the lady in the picture was just a stranger!
Plenty of people have since come forward with claims of being the ‘couple’ in the picture.
The Two and a Half Week “Meeting”
How far are you willing to go to impress someone? We guarantee you that whatever you think of won’t ever come close to what England’s Henry VIII and Francis I of France did when they were set to meet in 1520.
The meeting was instantly dubbed as the Field of the Cloth of Gold since both monarchs spared no expense when it came to decorations. Where did the meeting take place, you might ask?
A shocking number of workers, 6,000 to be more exact, were tasked with building a temporary palace. On top of lavish canopies and furnishings, they also had two fountains with beer and wine for their guests. After all was said and done, the two couldn’t possibly party one night and then go about their merry ways, no. The meeting lasted two and a half weeks, and we can only imagine what sort of fun the aristocracy had during that time.
The party was so lavish that the area where it was held got renamed to the Valley of Gold.
The “Little Masked Ball”
After the success of “In Cold Blood”, author Truman Capote decided to throw a Black and White ball for himself, the owner of The Washington Post Katherine Graham, and 540 friends. The Masked ball was held at New York’s Plaza Hotel on November 28, 1966, and everyone who was anyone attended including Frank Sinatra and Andy Warhol.
Though guests did wear elegant or elaborate masks, in order to really highlight the expansive guest list, Capote ensured that everyone was announced during their arrival.
Quite frankly, it was the place to be, bustling with stars, socialites, celebrities, and artists. The funniest part, though, was the fact that it took the New York Times 50 years to name it the “best party ever”.
Pope Alexander VI’s Soirée With a Twist
Here’s a wild idea: the most scandalous party in history was actually thrown by a pope. Nowadays we’re sure the Vatican would strongly oppose such a celebration.
The 1501 party was later dubbed the “Banquet of Chestnuts” due to an outrageous trick performed by sex workers. Yes, you read that right. They weren’t just invited to accompany the guests, they happened to be the main attraction. After feasting on meats and wine, 50 sex workers jumped on the tables and started performing a striptease.
This event seemed to have riled something within Pope Alexander VI as shortly after he announced that whoever slept with most of them would win a prize. Sadly, we don’t know who won, nor what they won.
The scandalous party was attended by Roman nobility and Catholic Church officials.
A Party so Lit It Sparked the French Revolution
Could you imagine what it would take to throw lavish parties in a country on the brink of a revolution? We can’t tell whether it’s courage, stupidity or unawareness that would cause anyone to do that.
Of course, we’re talking about Marie Antoinette’s exorbitant parties in the 18th century which many believed further ignited the people’s hatred for the aristocracy. Party goers were said to wear the most extravagant gowns, costumes, and masks, though these hardly hid the identity of the nobles. These soirées were also accompanied by champagne fountains and other displays of wealth.
What’s more, it is alleged that Marie Antoinette had multiple affairs during the course of these parties as her royal husband, Louis XVI, was never present. The get-togethers, along with other tense political and social situations in 18th century France, pushed the country closer and closer towards the French Revolution.
Paddling Across a Bowl of Punch
Edward Russell became First Lord of the Admiralty in 1694 following a naval victory against the French. Surprising no one, he decided to throw a huge party to commemorate his accomplishments and, supposedly in order to celebrate his battle at sea, incorporated an attraction so wild it reads more like science fiction!
The party involved a fountain filled with 2,800 liters of punch. It was so enormous that a boy had to row across it in a boat in order to serve the party guests. And this was no light beverage either, it was said to be highly alcoholic.
One could only imagine how rowdy the party became as soon men started jumping in the fountain itself, fully clothed. The commotion caused the boy’s boat to tip over, an incident that nearly drowned him! Could you imagine spending your last moments on Earth drowning in alcohol?
Alexander the Great Burned a City to the Ground After Throwing This Party
One of the biggest rivalries in history was between Alexander the Great and the Persian Empire. After the Persian attacks on Athens, known today as the Persian Wars, Alexander took his revenge by capturing their capital city of Persepolis in 330 BCE.
As expected after such a victory, the army stopped to celebrate with barrels and barrels of wine. During the festivities, Thais, the lover of Alexander’s general Ptolemy, drunkenly proposed they should burn the city to the ground. As though conquering the capital was not enough, the soldiers took torches to the palace and then the rest of the city as word spread of Thais’ idea among the ranks.
It must have been a sight worthy of Hollywood itself as female musicians played their songs while men destroyed everything in sight!
King Louis XIV Threw A Week-Long Celebration For His Mistress
The first party hosted at the Versailles, thrown by the self proclaimed Sun King – King Louis XIV, was known as the Pleasures of the Enchanted Isle, and it certainly was an enchanting affair! Initially, it was said that the party was held in honor of his mother, Anne of Austria. However that couldn’t be further from the truth as the real guest of honor turned out to be the king’s mistress, Louise de la Vallière.
The week-long celebration was held on May 7-13 1663 and included ballet performances after dark which the king himself later joined on the lantern-lit stage! It also included a recreation of Apollo’s chariot and party-goers wore elaborate lavish costumes.
As though it was not enough that the party was held at Versailles, the king also ordered an enormous fake palace. What did they do with the fake palace at the end? Why, they lit it up with fireworks and watched it burn to the ground, of course. What else could we expect from the French aristocracy of the time?
Stinking up the White House With a 1,400-pound Wheel of Cheese
We’re coming full circle with Andrew Jackson, who seemed adamant about making his stay in the White House as memorable as possible! Not only did he throw a crazy party when he was elected but he saw fit to do it all over again in 1837.
This time he only invited 10,000 people including family, friends, and members of the public. The pièce de résistance, in this case, was a 1,400-pound Wheel of Cheese. The enormous ‘snack’ was brought to the White House on a carriage drawn by 24 horses in 1835.
‘Wait a minute!’ we hear you saying, ‘you said the party took place in 1837!’ and it did. The cheese, however, sat in the foyer for two whole years. We think President Jackson was too proud of his purchase to allow it to be devoured too soon.
It took just two hours to eat the whole thing, but it wasn’t over yet. It stank up the White House so badly, a senator’s wife wrote a letter about the smell to President Van Buren in 1838! In the letter, she claimed that the current president had a difficult task ahead of him- getting rid of the “evil-smelling horror”.
A French Wedding Party Ended With King Charles VI Of France On Fire
Okay, I think we have established that the French seriously know how to throw a party! This one, however, ended up with four casualties.
This particular celebration took place in 1393 and was actually a wedding for one of Queen Isabeau’s ladies-in-waiting. But King Charles VI had a different idea. Though this was not a masquerade, he decided to don an outfit of Bigfoot. He and five of his friends thoroughly impressed their guests with these costumes, which should come as no surprise since the king himself was commonly known as Charles the Mad.
The wedding took a wild turn when the king’s brother, Louis I, approached the costumes with a torch in order to get a better look. That’s when the costumes caught on fire, causing one man to jump in a dishwasher tub while the Duchess of Berry threw the train of her gown over the king in order to protect him.
Luckily, the king survived the deadly incident.
The Manchu Han Imperial Feast Was A Three-Day Banquet of Delicacies
A good way to start any peace offering is to have both parties sit down and enjoy a nice meal, right? That’s exactly what happened in 1720 between the Manchu and the Han Chinese people.
The Manchu Han Imperial feast was no normal dinner party, mind you. It was actually a marathon dinner party that lasted three whole days across six different banquets. As many as 300 dishes of both Manchu and Han origins were served including camel humps, leopard fetuses, rhinoceros tail. If that’s not enough, one dish known as “golden eyes and burning brain” involved a bean curd simmered in bird brains.
Though the events took place hundreds of years ago, chefs in China still try to recreate some of the dishes to this day! Some often come up with their own variations, so if you’re ever in the region why not scout some of them out?
And if you’ve got the money for it, why not try the Cui Yuan restaurant, where you could savor 268 dishes for the mind-boggling amount of $54,000?