Travel in Latin America
If you are planning a trip to Uruguay, you'll find plenty of sights to see and things to do. Depending on when you plan your visit, you might also get to experience one or more of the country's many festivals and celebrations. Whether you are simply planning a short trip or you are planning to perhaps live in Uruguay on a short-term or long-term basis, it can be worth your while to plan your trip around one of these festivals. Here is a list of some of the major festivals and celebrations of Uruguay from which to choose:
La Fiesta Patria Gaucha
This celebration takes place in Tacuarembo, which is in northern Uruguay. Celebrated during the second week of March, this festival is attended by Gauchos, Uruguay's cowboys, in addition to people from all areas of the country. You'll find plenty of fun competitions, traditional food cooked barbeque style, folklore music, dancing, poetry performances, and parades. The event is quite colorful and festive, with attendees dressed in colorful traditional attire. This celebration is known for being the largest South American festival. Among the people of Uruguay, this is a very popular celebration that people wait for and look forward to all year long.
Lemanja Festival (Goddess of the Sea)
The Lemanja Festival of the Goddess of the Sea is one of Uruguay's major festivals. It is observed on February 2nd at two different locations - Punta Del Este and Montevideo. Devotees attend this celebration to show their reverence to Lemanja and to also receive her blessings. Those who attend the festival traditionally bring offerings such as flowers, candles and watermelons to present to the goddess. Some people even create sand sculptures or craft small boats designed to carry candles, fruits, money or a sculpture of the goddess. You'll most commonly find those who are celebrating the festival dressed in light blue or white. However, in addition to those who are actually participating in the festival in order to show reverence to the goddess, you'll also find plenty of attendees who are simply there because they are curious. So, you should feel free to attend the festivities, even if you aren't a devotee of Lemanja.
Mardi Gras Parade and Festival
The Carnival of Mardi Gras is celebrated the first week of February. Considered to be Uruguay's national annual festival, it is celebrated with parades, rhythmic music, theatrical productions and more. If you are visiting Uruguay during February, this is one festival that you simply won't want to miss.
The Tango Festival is unique to Uruguay, because the country is known as being the place of origination of the Tango. The week of June 24th is devoted to festivities in Tacuarembo, which is the birthplace of Carlos Gardel. Carlos is recognized as the all-time greatest tango singer. During this festival the whole town of Tacuarembo is alive with celebrations, parties and dancing. While you are there, you can even visit a museum that is dedicated to Gardel's life as well as the time in which he lived.