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WWWJDIC defines it as this:

どんちゃん騒ぎ【さわ】 (n) merrymaking; high jinks; spree

観光客は町中飲み歩いてどんちゃん騒ぎをした。 The tourists painted the whole town red

What is the etymology of this word? Is it in common usage?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Take a look at http://gogen-allguide.com/to/donchansawagi.html

In summary, どんちゃん is the sound of drums and gongs accompanying a battle scene in Japanese classical drama.

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thanks i didn't have that site bookmarked~ –  yadokari May 22 '12 at 17:56
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