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Carnaval Is Not Over in Montevideo, Uruguay

So we’ve heard about some famous worldly Carnavals, and we all know Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

But how about Uruguay’s festivities? Would you guess that they showcase the longest Carnaval in the world? While other countries have already long since cashed in their Fat Tuesday chips, Uruguay is still partying. Starting in late January, celebrations flow until early March for a total of 40 days.

The main parade dances through Montevideo’s main street of 18 de Julio – but the usually conservative Uruguayans don’t stop there. Each little neighborhood shows off their stuff with mini nightly parades.

Another parade during Carnaval is the Llamadas, which derives from the African slaves brought over to Uruguay back in the day.

Before 1956 (year of the first official Llamada), the black people would unofficially gather to make their “calls” of suffering and celebration while dancing and singing in the streets. This has since morphed into a spectacular display featuring candombe drum beats, creative dancing and a crowd of costumes.

Carnaval season here also includes Tablados, shows on stages scattered throughout the city. The acts include: Murgas, a type of singing particular to Uruguay; Pariodistas, groups singing and talking parodies; and Humoristas, singers and entertainers who make light of a multitude of subjects.

Though not nearly as scandalous as in other countries, Uruguay’s Carnaval is a truly prolonged festivity for the eyes and ears.

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So we’ve heard about some famous worldly Carnavals, and we all know Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

But how about Uruguay’s festivities? Would you guess that they showcase the longest Carnaval in the world? While other countries have already long since cashed in their Fat Tuesday chips, Uruguay is still partying. Starting in late January, celebrations flow until early March for a total of 40 days.

The main parade dances through Montevideo’s main street of 18 de Julio – but the usually conservative Uruguayans don’t stop there. Each little neighborhood shows off their stuff with mini nightly parades.

Another parade during Carnaval is the Llamadas, which derives from the African slaves brought over to Uruguay back in the day.

Before 1956 (year of the first official Llamada), the black people would unofficially gather to make their “calls” of suffering and celebration while dancing and singing in the streets. This has since morphed into a spectacular display featuring candombe drum beats, creative dancing and a crowd of costumes.

Carnaval season here also includes Tablados, shows on stages scattered throughout the city. The acts include: Murgas, a type of singing particular to Uruguay; Pariodistas, groups singing and talking parodies; and Humoristas, singers and entertainers who make light of a multitude of subjects.

Though not nearly as scandalous as in other countries, Uruguay’s Carnaval is a truly prolonged festivity for the eyes and ears.

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Comments
1

The art of celebration is such an uplifting inspiration and always a delight to be made aware of how cultures celebrate through musical and historical traditions. Truly enjoyed the detailed and thorough sharing presented by Dominic DeGrazier. His variety of elements within the piece brought me into the streets of Uruguay feeling the sights and sounds of what Carnaval in South America is all about. BRAVO and look forward to read more about his future and past journeys beyond the eye can see. Thank you- RVB

March 9, 2010

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