Latin American Festivals You Can’t Miss
The Carnival in Rio de Janeiro is a well-known event, which is held before Lent each year. It is considered as the world’s biggest carnival with around 2 million people per day on the streets. The festival dates back to 1723.
The Carnival includes Samba Schools, street carnivals, music and dances. It is held on March 1 and 5 and February 9 and 18. The main procession of the carnival is held on Sunday and Monday evenings after the above dates. The dates keep changing every year.
The four days and nights of the Rio carnival are a result of the yearlong planning, practicing and organizing. This carnival is Rio’s main event. The origins of this carnival are not known but it is widely believed that it started as a pagan celebration. The festivities offer lots of fun for free. Everyone is welcome to watch and participate.
The Semana Santa Easter Festival in Antigua, Guatemala
The very first glimpses of Antigua consist of looming volcanoes, colorful homes and cobblestone streets. It is also one of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites. The religious occasion of Semana Santa or the holy week was first introduced in Guatemala by their Spanish colonial masters. The holy week or Semana Santa is held annually in Antigua, Guatemala between March 22nd and April 23rd. The whole city of Antigua participates in the celebrations. Devotees in purple colored robes carry floats bearing images of the Holy Virgin and Jesus on their shoulders. The floats are followed by marching funeral bands. The processions parade the streets depicting the finals days of Jesus. From Monday to Thursday, several processions take the same course traversing the streets of Antigua, often lasting for twelve hours. Antiguans make preparations for the occasions months in advance.
Corpus Christi in Cuzco
Though, the festival of Corpus Christi is celebrated in the whole of Peru, its most impressive manifestation is in Cuzco. Various processions of fifteen virgins and saints come from several places to the Cuzco Cathedral in order to greet Christ’s body after sixty days of Easter Sunday. Sounds of the biggest church bell of Peru – Maria Angola – can be heard during the day. Maria Angola was built by Diego Arias de la Cerda during XVI century. Twelve different dishes are prepared and eaten the night before the actual celebration. The timing of the procession on the main day is 11 in the morning with lots of people swarming the Plaza de Armas in order to watch the saints. Once the procession is complete, the saints go back to the cathedral.
After el Octovo or seven days, the saints partake another procession and then, go back to their original places. The Corpus Chriti is a traditional festival, which also gives visitors from all around the world a first-hand experience of Peru’s traditions and cultures.
Inti Raymi in Cuzco
The festival of the sun or Inti Raymi is a religious ritual of the Inca Empire in honor of one of the most respected gods of the Incas – Inti. Inti Raymi was created to celebrate the winter solstice and the New Year in the Andes. The celebration also indicated the mythical origin of the Incas. It spanned nine days of processions, dances and animal sacrifices in order to ensure good crops. The last Inti Raymi was carried out in 1535, after which it was suppressed by the Catholic church consequent to the Spanish conquest. It was completely prohibited in 1572. A theatrical representation of the Inti Raymi has been taking place at Cuzco on 24 June every year. The celebration attracts thousands of visitors and tourists to Cuzco.
Dia de los muertos in Oaxaca M?�xico
Dia de los muertos or the day of the dead is celebrated in order to gather family and friends to remember and pray for the deceased. The celebration is carried out on 2nd November. This date is connected to the Christian holiday on 1st November ( All Saints Day) and 2nd November (All soul’s day). Traditionally, the celebration includes building altars with sugar skulls and other foods. Eating and parties are common at the time of celebration. It is sometimes, confused with Halloween. However, the two are completely different. Some people have a belief that the spirits of the dead eat the spirit of the food. In some parts of Mexico, such as the towns of Xoxocotl??n just outside of Oaxaca, people spend the whole night beside the graves of their loved ones.
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