Carnival Festivities in Argentina

(Photo by Paula Silva)

Brazil is the first destination that comes to mind when Carnival season arrives, however colorful festivities take place in most South American countries. Since carnival weekend is coming up we share with you some of the most effervescent alternatives in Argentina.

Gualeguaychu, Entre Rios: The Gualeguaychu Carnaval festival, in the province of Entre Rios to the North of Buenos Aires, is the most popular in Argentina. It is similar to the Brazilian Carnival and also includes a spectacular parade with choreographies, and fancy costumes.

Corrientes:  In the Corrientes province, which limits both with Entre Rios and Brazil, the carnival is also celebrated with big productions and a lot of street dancing. Some of the best places to go for the Corrientes festivities are Paso de los Libres (where there is a bridge connecting to Brazil), Goya, Santo Tomé, Esquina, Monte Caseros, Curuzú Cuatiá and Empedrado.

Salta: The Salta carnival is a showy display of dancing and feathers but also of  indigenous traditions related to harvest rituals. Water is one of the protagonists of the Salta festivities as it represents purification. It is not uncommon to end up soaking wet from unexpected water filled balloons and buckets. In the Calchaquí Valley, after the water games and street festivities, “carnavaleros” gather in someone’s house to have abundant lunches. In the evening dancing takes place at parties where flour and confetti is thrown. Finally, the carnival is buried on a Sunday. A hole is dug in the ground and the pullcay, a doll that symbolizes carnival, is buried whilst people sing, dance and cry.

Jujuy: The Jujuy and the Bolivian carnival have a lot in common. In the Quebrada de Humahuaca there is a predominant representation of demons that animate the festival. Costumes including masks with horns are accessorized with necklaces made of fruits, onions,  and goat cheese, amongst other edibles. These demons also carry traditional instruments and go around the city enticing the public to dance and participate. Finally the carnaval is buried in the afternoon on the outskirts of the village. Since they only like participation from those who are culturally linked with the celebration it is difficult to learn where the burial will occur. At the burial they dance and reverence the symbolic devil, surrounded by offerings of fruits, coca leaves, and chicha. Once the burial is finished those dressed up as demons quickly change back into their clothes.

In other Argentine provinces there are also Carnival festivities, but not to the same degree of those previously mentioned. In Buenos Aires it is common to run into murgas, learn more about them here.

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