Uruguay Festivals and holidays are occasions that everyone looks forward to because of the food, fun and excitement. They Uruguay people enjoy celebrations and they are very happy to share these times with family, friends and visitors.
People in the large cities of Uruguay and rural villages are all eager to celebrate these special occasions. The festivals are always well attended and the planned events and activities are spread out over several days. This makes it possible for nearly everyone to share in the excitement created by parades, live Uruguay music, dancing and games.
Learning about the culture of a country is always easier when you are able to mingle with the people that live there. This is one reason that so many visitors make plans to travel to Uruguay during the times when some type of special event is set to occur.
There are only 2 months of the year when there are no regularly planned national festivals or Uruguay holidays in this country, September and April. This means that most tourists can expect to experience some type of holiday or festive event when they travel to Uruguay.
In January the list of Uruguay festivals begins with the Ano Nuevo celebration. This is, of course, the annual New Year festival which is a favorite among the people of Uruguay. While no national festivals are held at this time, the day is still a holiday and many parties will take place at homes, restaurants and other large gathering places.
On the 6th of January Uruguay celebrates the holiday of the Epifania (Epiphany). This is the date that traditionally marks the beginning of the Uruguay Carnival season.
The Virgen de la Candelaria is the Uruguay festival that is held on February 2nd.
In either February or March it is time for the country to celebrate Carnaval and Las Llamadas. Carnaval is one of the major celebrations for Uruguay and this is one of the Uruguay festivals that draws the largest crowds.
Although the capital city of Montevideo hosts many of the large Carnaval events there will be local celebrations occurring throughout the nation. Las Llamadas is the official name of the carnival that takes place in the black community.
The Semana Santa holiday also takes place during February or March.
On the 1st of May it is time for the people of Uruguay to celebrate their country's Labor Day. This holiday is known as Dia de los Trabajadores. Another May holiday is Batalla de la Piedras which is observed on May 18th.
June 19th is when Natalicio de Artigas occurs. This is an annual holiday observance.
Jura de la Constitucion is celebrated by Uruguayans on the 18th of July.
The 25th of August is when Dia de la Independencia takes place.
Columbus Day is observed on October 12th. This day is known locally as Dia de la Raza.
On November 2nd it is time for the country to observe Dia de los Muertos.
December 25th is when Navidad, or Christmas Day in Uruguay is celebrated. Christmas is a time when families and friends come together for a day of sharing and fun.
Carnaval Week has long been the national festival for the country of Uruguay. The actual celebration is designated as being the Monday and Tuesday just before Ash Wednesday. This means that the date of this festival changes each year.
Even though the calendar designates a 2 day celebratory period the people of Uruguay celebrate this event for the entire week. You will find that almost all of the businesses, government offices and local shops will close in honor of this festive event. People go to great extremes to make sure that their homes and streets are decorated and everyone is focused on having fun.
There are many shows that take place at the open air theaters in Uruguay during Carnival Week. Many groups of people such as the black Uruguayan societies, lubolos, murgas and parodistas will compete by staging tablados.
If you visit the business districts in Maldonado during Carnival you will be able to observe the tablados. These are popular scenic displays that are erected especially for this one Uruguay festival. Some of the tablados are movable while others remain fixed at one location until the end of Carnival.
The organizer of the Uruguay Carnival is the Department of Culture and each year this Uruguay festival becomes bolder, brighter, bigger and better.
There are Carnival Queens that are elected from the different zones and many parades to be planned. These events begin taking place several months prior to the actual date of the festival.
Among the special parades for Carnival are the children's parade (Carnival of the Promises) in January, the Parade of the Calls in Sur and Palermo and Desfile de las Llamadas in Montevideo.
Candombe is a very unique musical treat during Carnival time. This is a combined music form that utilizes Bantu drumming techniques as well as some European and Tango influences.