The Uruguay Carnival is a special festival that is celebrated annually in Uruguay during the third week of January and ends in mid-March. This year, it begins on February 20. The carnival is related to Murga, candombe, and tablados. The carnival has been a popular tradition in the country for many years. The activities conducted during the ceremonies have evolved with time while keeping the essence of the culture. The Uruguay Carnival can be seen as a dance parade, and there are different comparsas who play the drums and dance joyfully to the music. The capital, Montevideo, hosts the biggest carnival celebrations, lasting up to 40 days.
History of Uruguay Carnival
The Uruguay Carnival is considered to be the biggest carnival celebration in the capital city of Montevideo. The event features a series of cultural events, such as dance parades in the streets. There is a lovely artistic contest in the Teatro de Verano, which means “Summer Theater.” The carnival celebrations in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, are quite different from those in Uruguay. This is because they don’t follow the Christian calendar of carnival, which usually finishes at the beginning of Lent and about six weeks before Easter. The carnival in Uruguay, however, begins in the third week of January and ends in mid-March.
In the mid-18th century, enslaved people were given one day to celebrate their cultural identity. These celebrations were filled with entertaining Candombe, which is a form of drum-based music. The celebrations continued even after the slaves got their freedom. The candombe style eventually merged with the existing traditional Uruguayan music. This musical fusion led to a blend of African and Uruguayan rhythms.
When the carnival begins in the third week of January, it starts with the Inaugural Parade. The Uruguay carnival then spans about 40 consecutive days. The celebrations can last longer if rain falls and leads to delays. The Uruguayan Carnival begins to stir even months before the main festivities and parades. There are performances featuring renowned artists and musicians. People enjoy week-long comedy stage shows that feature classic satire artists who expertly parody the ways of the world. Only two days are officially given to the Uruguayan locals as public holidays.
Uruguay Carnival timeline
The carnival begins when enslaved people from Africa arrive in Montevideo.
The carnival evolves when wealthy residents allow enslaved people to gather at approved locations.
There is mass immigration from Europe to Uruguay.
The most important comparsas perform at the carnival to create a beautiful Uruguayan art form.
Uruguay Carnival FAQs
Is Uruguay Carnival expensive?
The Uruguay Carnival is quite affordable. Getting a seat at the parades can cost around ten dollars or less.
When does Uruguay prepare for carnival?
Carnival preparations in Uruguay take place any day of the week all year round. The drumming comparsas can be seen practicing every week out on the street.
What are the public holidays during Uruguay carnival?
The public holidays during the Uruguay carnival are Rose Monday and Shrove Tuesday.
Uruguay Carnival Activities
You can have a lot of fun visiting Uruguay. You can take part in many activities to enjoy the country's rich culture.
Attend the carnival
You can plan to visit the country during the festival period. This will allow you to enjoy a firsthand experience of the carnival.
Learn the language
Take some time to learn Spanish, which is the official language of Uruguay. A better knowledge of the language will help you better appreciate the country’s culture and traditions.
5 Fun Facts About The Uruguay Carnival
The carnival is long
Montevideo is considered to be the world’s longest carnival.
It is not crowded
The carnival is unique in the way that it is not usually crowded.
It is authentic
The carnival promises an authentic local Uruguayan experience.
It is family-oriented
Kids run around unsupervised at this family-oriented carnival.
There is face painting
Many people have fun getting their faces painted during the carnival.
Why We Love Uruguay Carnival
It preserves Uruguay’s culture
The carnival is an important part of the culture of Uruguay. The people enjoy participating in the activities as they are part of their national events.
It teaches the youth
The young citizens of Uruguay get to learn about their culture and practice their country’s traditions. This helps to pass the important traditions to the next generations.
There are picnics
During the carnival, some families bring picnic blankets and deck chairs. They have picnics at the bigger venues.
Uruguay Carnival dates