Festival Fever: 7 Fantastic Festival in Latin America
South America is known for its party spirit! Colourful clothing, fast energetic dances, pulsating music and always time for a celebration – South America is THE destination for a festival fiesta!
1. Mendoza Wine Harvest Festival
Since 1936, the Mendoza Wine Harvest Festival has been held every year as a celebration of the Cuyo region and the amazing wines it produces. The festival is a combination of celebrations happening between December and February throughout Mendoza’s 18 districts. In the first weekend of March, the region’s bumper harvest is celebrated famously with wine, food, music, and lots of different special events - concerts, parades, fireworks, and general merriment! The finale performance at Mendoza’s Greek Theatre features hundreds of dancers and actors, the National Grape Harvest Queen is crowned, and the entire celebration ends with a huge fireworks display! This Mendoza extravaganza is a must visit for any traveling oenophile or festival lover alike!
2. Day of the dead, Mexico
The Día de los Muertos is celebrated annually on November 1st and 2nd as a reunion of dead relatives with their families! It sounds a little morbid but it is seen as a celebration of life and remembrance of loved ones. For Mexicans it’s an important festival and one of the main celebrations of the year. Activities that take place include burning incense, decorating graves, prayers and chants for the dead. Traditional food and drink is a big part of the festival and festival goers dress up in colourful costumes and paint their faces to look like the iconic ‘sugar skulls’ or calavera.
3. Semana Santa, Peru
Semana Santa takes place two days before Palm Sunday and celebrations continue for ten days all the way up until Easter Sunday, Semana Santa is one of Peru’s most exceptional festivals! On the Friday there is a parade to honour Our Lady of Sorrows (La Virgen de los Delores), which is met with a serious, solemn mood. Then, over the next few days, things become livelier and the streets are painted in bright colours, vibrant processions flood the streets and art, music, dance and traditional cuisine are all enjoyed. The big party comes on the Easter Saturday and continues late into the night!
4. Corpus Christi Festival, Ecuador
Ecuadorians love a reason to celebrate and they really go all out and put on an extravagant show! In the small town of Pujili, the Corpus Christi Festival happens in the second week of June and it celebrates a combination of Holy Communion, the harvest and traditional worship of the Inca Sun God. Food, art, regional dance, folklore and music are important parts of the festival. Colourful traditional clothing and costumes come together in an explosion of colour and joy. 15 minutes away from Pujili is Latacunga National Park, home to Andean forests, striking rivers and lakes and forest habitats within the Amazon, a spectacular area mostly unexplored by tourists and well worth a trip if you are planning to visit the festival!
5. Tomorrowland - Sao Paulo, Brazil
Tomorrowland is an electronic dance music (EDM) festival - one of the world’s largest, it has been running every year since 2005. It hosts some of the best DJ’s in the world who play at the festival over 3 days during the first week of May. You can pitch your tent onsite in Dreamville, or if you prefer a bit of luxury; pre-erected tents with sleeping bags, small but arty cabanas, and the Dream Lodge are also available at a price! This festival is so popular tickets sell out in a matter of minutes and then the only way in is to buy a package deal.
6. World Tango Championships, Buenos Aires, Argentina
In Buenos Aires, tango is everywhere you turn and for the people of Buenos Aires, it has become an all-encompassing part of life. Here, in birthplace of tango, August is competition time as dancers from all around the world battle it out for the all-important title of world tango champion. Smouldering and sexy, the tango is mesmerizing to watch and you will find yourself getting completely drawn in by the complex steps and traditional music. If you feel inspired, free dance classes and concerts form part of the festivities too.
7. Carnival- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Last but not least is probably the world’s most famous party! Rio comes to life for the four days before lent - massive floats full of samba dancers, all day and all night parties, an explosion of colour and an electric atmosphere, this is the place to be! It’s a time of elation where people dance, sing, party and generally have lots of fun. Celebrations take place everywhere in the streets and squares, bars, clubs and take over the entire city, finally culminating in the world renowned spectacular - ‘Rio Carnival Parade’. It’s easy to join in, just grab a samba costume or something brightly coloured, learn the moves and feel the music!