The Uruguayan Carnaval claims to be the longest in the world, supposedly lasting over a month, but I guess we’ve only seen some the bigger events. I think the entire month is a big holiday/vacation time for most people. For what little I know of the history, the tradition has it’s roots in Africa from the many slaves that were brought to
Some of the events our group attended:
The opening parade to kick off the Carnaval happed the first week we were here and we went to watch it on 18 de Julio (the main drag in
Also happening within the last couple of weeks was the festival of Iemanja. She is the Lady of the Sea (ironically stated since she came from the widest river in the world: the Rio de la Plata or the River Plate) who supposedly came out of the water at Playa Ramirez (Ramirez beach) to bless the people of
Finally, last Thursday and Friday we attended Las Llamadas. To the best of my knowledge it’s a big contest between different llamadas groups which consist of flagmen, dancers, the drummers, and the support crowd (which seemed to be either friends of the group or even carried extra drums if one of them breaks!). The drum music was intense and the rhythm vibrated your whole body. There were a ton of people there too. On Thursday night we went and couldn’t find a spot to see the show so we climbed the back of some stadium seating until we were told to get down by a policeman. Then on Friday, we forced our way onto the sidewalks beside the street where the performance was and got pretty close to the show. Uruguayans definitely have a different sense of personal space than Americans. There is no “bubble” and if you want to squeeze through the crowd, that’s exactly what you do: you push and shove and squeeze through the crowd. After we decided we had seen enough, we started to leave only to be caught in a downpour! We huddled under an overhanging roof until most of it stopped and then pushed on back toward the house.