Teds Travels – Carnivals in South America
Just as I constantly say ‘there’s more to South America than Machu Picchu’, today I’d like to add ‘there’s more to carnival than Rio’. Contrary to what many people may think, Carnival is not a Rio-exclusive festivity. Thought to have started in Italy centuries ago, Carnival involves several days of celebration and fun before “behaving” for Ash Wednesday and the 40 days prior to Easter.
Rio Carnival is a celebration of what Brazil is all about; a bold, hard-working & passionate nation of a diverse people with a deep European history dancing in harmony to their rich African and Amerindian cultures. The Rio Samba Parade is a non-stop exciting celebration with exotic samba music, thousands of great performers, and wonderful musicians. It takes place in the kilometre-long Sambadrome in front of 200,000 spectators, where 12 Samba schools parade and compete with each other.
Outside of Brazil, Barranquilla’s Carnival is one of Colombia’s most important folkloric celebrations and one of the biggest carnivals in the world. The Carnival starts on the Saturday before the Ash Wednesday (14 February 2018) with the Battle of the Flowers, which is considered one of the main activities. Then, The Great Parade on Sunday and Monday is marked by an Orchestra Festival with Caribbean and Latin bands. Tuesday signals the end of the carnival, announced by the burial of Joselito Carnaval, who is mourned by everyone.
For anyone who’s missed the boat (or bus) to the bigger carnivals, Carnaval Porteño (Buenos Aires’ Carnival) has something in store. Buenos Aires’ carnival isn’t one long parade — the action actually happens in 35 gated-off street sections around the city. This has the benefit of dispersing the crowds, so you will not miss any of the action behind an ocean of people trying to catch a glimpse of the show. The celebrations may be less grandiose than other South American carnivals, but the party spirit is by no means lacking.
Are you ready to party?
Ted Dziadkiewicz is Director and Founder of Contours Travel, Australia’s longest running tour operator to Latin America. He has been more than 100 times to Latin America over the past 40 years and visited over 20 countries. If you want to know more visit www.contourstravel.com.au