You’re looking for a travel adventure, an adventure that will open up the world to you. There’s nothing like South America that will give you that cultural partying like no other.
Think of music.
Think about dancing.
Think of colors.
Think of food.
You get all that along with some of the most wonderful people you’ll ever meet. They are hands down one of the most friendly people in the world.
And when it comes to partying, there’s nothing like getting-in in all that with the whole country and its people.
Here are the following festivities you may want to join in when you plan your trip to South America. You might want to include them when you consider your next South America tour packages.
February and March
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Carnaval. The Carnival of Brazil is the most well known yearly celebration in the world held in Brazil’s city of celebration, Rio de Janeiro. In fact, the Guinness World Records recognizes the celebration as the largest in the world.
The Carnaval starts on a Friday before Ash Wednesday and ends midday on Ash Wednesday, exactly forty-five days before Easter. It’s a celebration before the fasting season of Lent. Thus, Carne – Levare, literally translated the lifting of meat, a Christian tradition of abstinence from eating meat during Lent.
It’s a celebration before fasting.
And what a celebration Brazilians put together, the kind of party that takes a full year to plan out and put together. Preparation literally starts at the very end of the last Carnaval.
It’s a festival and a competition which makes it all fever pitch on the very day. This is when all the mountainous artistically designed floats and all the flamboyant costumes and their dramatic energetic dancers perform as they slowly prance and dance their way through a two-car-width road in between a pair of thousand-foot-long-stadium bleachers.
All that in the rhythmic Samba music that pervades everywhere.
This is the culmination of a full year’s work of different samba schools from around Brazil, all competing to be the winner of the year’s Carnaval.
You can watch from the bleachers or, for $300 be one of the dancers with costumes on the parade. And for $600, you might secure a spot dancing on one of these huge floats.
When it comes to observing a traditional celebration that has gone down in the history of indigenous culture, Inti Raymi will give you the indigenous festival experience you won’t forget.
Inti Raymi is a traditional Incan festival in honor of the god, Inti, a name that’s synonymous to the Sun. It was the most important of the four-yearly celebrations during the height of the Incan civilization. Today, Inti Raymi is celebrated every June 24th, taking place at the main plaza of Cusco, the capital city of the ancient Incan Empire. These days, Inti Raymi celebrations are held at the ancient ruin, Sacsayhuaman where they still sacrifice a pair of llamas.
The celebration is basically like a show with dancers and marchers and carriers holding up the statue of a king, a woman representing a queen on an elevated chair raised up and held up by men wearing traditional Incan wear.
Inti Raymi is both a celebration and a procession of ritual that has been enacted to pass on the Incan tradition. The festivity is meant for the local Cusco and Peruvians with parties, food, dances, and more processions all-around the city. Tourists are welcome to watch and join Peruvian friends in their homes celebrating during the week.
Watching the traditional ritual and procession in the middle of Cusco, the center of Incan life, surrounded by mountains at 11,100 feet above sea level imparts an experience unique to its place, a city designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
El Dia de Los Muertos
November, Day of the Dead
From the heart of Oaxaca, Mexico, comes a tradition all Mexicans celebrate every year from the 31st of October to the 2nd of November, a tradition of lighting candles on the graves of loved ones gone. It’s a tradition of families watching over their loved ones graves adorned with yellow flowers, taking turns with specially made anise-scented bread traditionally passed down from generations.
It’s also a celebration where revelers face paint looking like skulls called Comparsas. Imagine parades lining the streets with All Soul’s Day and All Saint’s Day revelers wearing these painted skull faces holding up their candles with family and friends.
Imagine skeleton puppets, costumes, and dresses in skeletal motifs in varying designs and shades of the theme.
El Dia de Los Muertos is consequently a family day with lots of food. Other than the Pan de Muerto, the Bread of the Dead, and the candy-like skulls called Calaveras, they also have the traditional tamales and other popular family dishes they all like to share including alcoholic drinks called Pulque and Atole and Champurrado.
Today, El Dia de Los Muertos has become a regional All Soul’s Day All Saint’s Day celebration that can be seen in Belize, Brazil, Peru and even in some parts of the United States.
Enjoy the Marigold colored celebration with skull-painted faces and candles and food when you decide to see it all for yourself joining with one of the South America tour packages.
Fiesta de la Candelaria
2nd Week of February
Puno, Peru & Bolivia
It’s a celebration among Catholics specifically in Peru in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary and her Son, Jesus Christ in the Presentation in the Temple. The festival is a week-long celebration bringing the statue of the Virgin Mary through the town and culminating with a lot of dancing parades in the streets.
The Fiesta de la Candelaria is another major festival of dancing, colorful hats, and dresses, costumes and music that has gone to other regions in South America.
When you witness such an event, particularly on its parade of dances and costumes, you’ll know you’re in for a visual and aural treat. It’ll be a better experience if you’re able to make local friends who can guide you through the festival.
It is yet another UNESCO recognized festivity as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The Fiesta de la Candelaria features about 50,000 dancers, 15,000 musicians with 25,000 people involved in making it all happen. It’s truly a big event along with the Carnaval of Brazil.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Here’s something especially for dancers but even non-dancers alike who just want to enjoy a treat of the senses. Imagine a whole city celebrating a dance style unique unto itself.
Buenos Aires, the birthplace of the world’s most romantic dance, is the city of Tango enthusiast.
For a little more than ten days in the first half of August, Buenos Aires celebrates Tango with performances all over the city. And along with it, classes where you can learn the Tango for the first time, places where Tango talks and books are sold and read. Tango music and Tango singing are part of the celebration. There are paid Tango events and free ones throughout the city.
This is the time of the year where tango enthusiasts and dancers converge once a year and celebrate with visual action, music, dancing dress and suits while enjoying good conversations over Argentine treats.
The final two days are set for the Tango Finals where the best of the best Tango dancers compete for the Tango World Cup.
Imagine being in a city all-abuzz with everything Tango.
You won’t leave Buenos Aires without being changed by the experience. It’s definitely worth a plan and a trip with any South America Tour packages.
Before Ash Wednesday
Here’s another of South America’s UNESCO recognized cultural heritage known for its Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage: The Oruro Carnaval from Bolivia.
Yet another of South American’s famed street parade, the Oruro Carnaval is truly one of the world’s more colorful and animated festivals you’ll ever experience.
The inspiration of the Oruro Carnaval comes from its folkloric tradition and Catholic inspiration, reflecting the margins of two cultures that make up the Bolivian tradition.
At the festival, you’ll see figures that have become tradition even in the Oruro festivities through the years. These are the well-known icons of both folklore tradition and Christian in the form of characters exemplified in the parade such as the Archangel San Miguel, the Spanish Conquistadors, the Incas, the Tobas victorious warriors from the Incan Empire and the Morenos who represent the African slaves brought by the Spanish conquistadors.
Enjoy the Oruro Carnaval if you want a different take for the Rio de Janeiro Carnaval with your choice of the next South America Tour packages.