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Expanish Guide to Carnival

With Argentina´s final carnival weekend just past and Rio´s Champions weekend about to begin, Expanish Blog thought it would give you the lowdown on celebrations.

Back in November 2010, Argentines celebrated with cheers when Cristina Kirchner announced new holidays in Argentina for 2011.  One of the most positively received “new” public holidays was the return of Carnaval.  Although it has always celebrated in the country, it was un-holidayed back in 1976, so since then people have not had the time off work and school to properly celebrate.  Luckily, Kristina wanted to give a push to local tourism and re-instated the two-day holiday we have just enjoyed.

Carnaval is celebrated in dozens of countries around the world – many people think of Brazil and their parades of scantily clad dancers, however, similar versions occur all over the Caribbean and South America, including Argentina.

The Mecca of Argentine Carnaval is in the northern province of Entre Rios, specifically the town of Gualeguaychú.  It is considered the third largest carnival celebration in the world, where each year starting on January 1st there are parades and parties galore.  Although many Carnaval events have already taken place in the past two months, the  long weekend holiday we have just enjoyed was the culmination, with the biggest parades and parties.

For those of you who either went to Gualeguaychú to enjoy the festivities or are heading out to Brazil to enjoy Champions Weekend, here is a quick guide….

Batucada – A style of samba that is usually performed by a group of drummers in costumes of many colors.

Comparsas – A float or group of people made up of dancers in a parade.  This is usually what you picture in your mind when you think of Carnaval – headdresses with lots of feather and ruffles.

Corsódromo – The main event!  This is a strip where the parade happens and where thousands of people can watch.  This is also when each group is judged in the competition.