parallax background

Montevideo Carnival, Uruguay

El Purim en Israel es una celebración religiosa que ha integrado elementos de carnaval
Purim in Israel
El Carnaval de Colonia es conocido en la ciudad como los días más locos
Cologne Carnival, Germany

 

What is the Montevideo Carnival?

.
The Montevideo Carnival is an annual celebration held in the capital of Uruguay. The carnivals in the city of Montevideo are a true sensory spectacle due to all the magic that is transmitted in all the senses. The celebrations in the city of Montevideo can last up to 40 days, which involves a series of cultural events such as parades, dance performances in the streets, theatrical performances and an art contest that happen every week.

Carnival in Montevideo has two important aspects that complement each other: the murgas and candombe. Murgas are of Spanish origin, and the themes covered in their verses are rather humoristic and satirical, which in turn touch on political, social and cultural issues. On the part of candombe, it is of African origin, which can be evidenced in the cultural manifestations such as costumes, typical dances and chants..

 

 

Despite being one of the smallest countries in Latin America, the carnivals of the capital are considered one of the longest in the world, contemplating 40 days of wonderful festivities that have nothing to envy to their sister countries. The celebration integrates a large part of the city’s population, which makes it one of the most nourished and varied in the country. The carnivals of Montevideo are definitely the most anticipated festivities in the entire capital, so you should not miss them for anything in the world.

 

The Montevideo Carnival is the repersentation of the syncretism of cultures of the last centuries

The Montevideo Carnival is the repersentation of the syncretism of cultures of the last centuries

.

 

When is the Carnival of Montevideo?

Although the carnival has a period of festivities equal to or greater than 40 days, the celebrations with greater force occur between February and March.

 

 

History of the Montevideo Carnivals

.
The Carnival of Uruguay comes from the carnival celebrations of Europe, which arrived in the country during colonial times. When the colonists arrived they imposed their traditions mainly Catholic, which caused acultural syncretism between natives, black slaves and the colonizers themselves. During the carnivals of yesteryear, games consisting of throwing water, eggs, flour and oranges were common.

 

The Carnival of the 19th century

.
In the beginnings of the carnival a rude celebration took place, as it consisted of the war of products such as water, eggs and flour. These were mainly thrown from buildings, balconies or terraces and the bulk of the population participated. However, at the end of the century, the carnivals began to acquire better structure and organization, leaving behind the rude and forced celebrations for parades of troupes.

In 1872, the first comparsa was organized by the governing authorities. Later, and with the creation of new comparsas, the first comparsas contest was held, which integrated a total of 35 groups, 11 being of afrodescendants. The celebration was a success, giving way to a new form of carnivals that would shape the current carnivals. In addition, during this time the first groups of murgas began to form.

If you want to learn more about tourism in this country, I recommend this guide:

 

Development of carnivals in the 20th century

.
At the beginning of the century, the murgas began to modernize. The first Uruguayan murga took place in the Montevideo carnival, which was made up of six young people who took to the streets to recount current events related to politics and society..

The Montevideo carnival began to take on much more importance, reaching its institutionalization at the beginning of the century. In the year 1905, the current competition of comparsas de negros y lubolos was created. Over the years, many more groups began to integrate, including new murgas. In this way, more instruments and musical elements began to be included, which gave rise to the murga currently known as “Marcha camión“.

Entertainment and spectacle began to diversify, which led to the creation of more categories in official contests. One of these categories was the well-known “magazines” category, which emerged in 1934, while the “journalists” category emerged in 1939 and the “humorists” category in 1946. These new categories did not make a particular emphasis on music, but their strong point was dancing.

In 1956 the first Desfile de Llamadas was created, one of the most important carnival attractions in the whole celebration, which was intended only for comparsas. During the civic-military dictatorship of Uruguay during the 70’s and 80’s, the carnival functioned as a tool of battle and fight against censorship, due to the constant attacks they suffered.

 

Where is the Montevideo Carnival

?
The Carnival is held in the city of Montevideo, Uruguay. Montevideo is the capital and largest city of the country, which has a total area of 200 square kilometers where 1.3 million people live.

 

The Montevideo Carnival is a colorful celebration of cultures

The Montevideo Carnival is a colorful celebration of cultures

.

 

How the Montevideo Carnival is celebrated

.
Montevideo Carnival has become a celebration of diverse beliefs and traditions that make up Uruguayan society today along with the cultures that have been in contact due to migrant populations that have entered the country. Carnivals celebrate theend of slavery and social and individual freedom. The carnival celebrations in Uruguay have essential elements that make up today’s festivities:

 

Sociedades de Negros y Lubolos

.
These societies are also known simply as comparsas and are the groups that perform the music repertoires. These repertoires are mainly rhythms that have been emerging over the years and have come about due to cultural influences. The two predominant rhythms in the comparsas are candombe and Tago. The name comes from the Afro-descendants and European descendants who disguised themselves as Uruguayan Afro-descendants to participate.

The comparsas or societies are composed of agroup of dancers, a large number of percussionists and musicians and the main characters of candombe which is composed of La Mama Vieja, El Escobero and the Gramillero..

 

Samba Schools

.
Samba schools have gained popularity within the cavarles in Montevideo, although they are not typical of the traditional carnival. Due to its proximity to Brazil, it is inevitable not to count on the presence of a movement that has gained spaces around the world. These groups do not enter directly into the competitions nor are they incorporated into the Uruguayan parades themselves. However, they have their own elements, parades and queens.

 

Murgas

.
This is a genre that has been strongly influenced by Spanish culture. The members of these groups perform in thetheatrical and musical medium and also use instruments such as the bass drum, cymbals and redoblante. The themes they address in their verses are mainly political and social demonstrations.



Humorists

.
It is an aspect that began to emerge in the mid-twentieth century and its purpose is tomake the public laugh. To achieve this, they must turn to librettos, which many of them deal with movements such as singing and dancing.

 

Parodists

.
Journalists are somewhat similar to humorists. In fact, they were originally the same movement. However, nowadays journalists take past events or a point of reference to perform their acts. They usually touch on topics such as movies, novels or characters. The presentations they make may comprise humorous elements, although this is not necessarily the most important subject matter.

 

Magazines

.
This is another of the carnival categories that focuses mainly on theatrical elements. Their themes usually revolve aroundsocial themes; however, they also possess some frivolous characteristics that are conveyed through the dancing and beauty of those who present. Despite this, there is no fixed formula, so the themes and elements may vary.

The different groups of Revistas, Parodistas, Humoristas and Murgas generally perform at the Ramón Collazo Summer Theater.

 

Tips for going to the Montevideo Carnivals

.
If you wish to attend the Montevideo carnivals, we recommend planning your trip in advance, making a travel itinerary and booking your preferred lodging in advance. Also, be sure to pack comfortable clothes so you can fully enjoy the carnivals.

 

Events in Montevideo Carnival

.

Parades

Montevideo Carnival has several parades with different elements and themes. In general, there are 3 official parades that occupy the most attention and devotion of the public during the festivities. Each of them is composed of groupings, music and entertainment elements.

 

Inaugural Parade

.
It is the first parade to take place in the carnivals of Uruguay. This parade has the particularity of containing all the carnival groupings, including murgas, negros and lubolos, humorists, parodists and revistas. The parade takes place on Avenida 18 de Julio and features allegorical floats, giant puppets, high-level scenery and the Carnival Queens.

 

Samba Schools Parade

.
The parade of the Samba Schools is presented immediately afterwards. This parade is composed of the varioussamba schools that are constituted in the city and some from the rest of the country. This celebration is unique, since the samba schools are not directly part of the parades of Uruguay, so they have a unique parade for them.

 

Parade of Llamadas

.
It is the last event with respect to the parades. During the event there are parades of more than 40 groups. This is the most awaited parade, since it is the manifestation par excellence of the Uruguayan culture and all its aspects. The parade is extended for two days to give opportunities to all groups and societies to participate.

Tablados

The Tablados are theatrical competitions held in addition to the official exhibitions at the Summer Theater. These pieces are held at various sites in the city and involve the participation of several groups.

 

Events

.

Official Carnival Contest

.
In these contests are held to determine and award the title of winner to the different groupings that make up the Murga, Negros and lubolos, Humoristas, Parodistas and Revistas. This contest is held to award the positions to those who will perform on the official days.

 

Carnival of Promises

.
This is an event in which young people up to 18 years of age participate in the various categories of lubolos, revues, murgas, journalists and humorists. In addition, the samba schools also participate.

 

Murga Joven

.
The contest takes place in November and counts on the participation of ensembles that have already participated in carnival contests.

 

Election of the Carnival Queen

.
The event is held at the beginning of the year and is where the Queen of Carnival and Llamadas will be selected.

 

Colorful characters and costumes are everywhere at the Montevideo Carnival

Colorful characters and costumes are everywhere at the Montevideo Carnival

.

 

Montevideo Carnival Parades

.
The first parade is known as the Inaugural Parade and is where all the theatrical, musical and dance groups participate. It is the first official ceremony and kicks off the carnivals proper.

The second parade is the Samba Schools Parade. This parade features the exclusive participation of the samba schools and all their musical components, costumes and dance.

The most awaited parade is the Desfile de Llamadas. This parade is the pure representation of the Uruguayan culture and counts with the participation of at least 40 groups or comparsas. Within each of the comparsas you can find main people, as well as following a strict rule of times and taking of place.

Each one of the groupings must have a maximum of 150 people and must be composed mainly of the following:

  • 36 drummers
  • 1 vedette: A female character wearing exotic and colorful costume elements. Relates to cabaret dancers
  • .
  • 4 flag bearers
  • .
  • 1 crescent
  • 2 stars
  • 2 broom holders: who sweep the dance floor to cleanse it of negative energies
  • .
  • 1 standard-bearer
  • 2 gramilleros: represents the healer of the African tribes. He has a cotton beard, hat, glasses and cane
  • .
  • 2 mamas viejas: women who symbolize housekeepers. They wear humble clothes, use umbrella, fan and basket.
  • 15 dancing corps
  • .

 

 

The parades feature the following order:

    1. Banner
    2. Flags
    3. Moons, stars, crescents and lights used by masked persons

.

  1. Mixed dance troupes
  2. Gramillero
  3. Mama vieja
  4. Scoberos
  5. Vedette
  6. Musicians

 

Parade route

.

The Montevideo Carnival has an inaugural parade that takes place on the first day

The Montevideo Carnival has an inaugural parade that takes place on the first day

.

 

The inaugural parade takes place on Avenida 18 de Julio, while the Desfile de Llamadas takes place on Isla de Flores street, crossing Barrio Sur and Palermo.

 

Asado is one of the classic dishes of the Uruguayan cuisine

Asado is one of the classic dishes of the Uruguayan cuisine

.

 

What to eat at the Montevideo Carnival

?
During the Montevideo Carnival celebrations, you can find in the streets a great offer of street food that can range from hamburgers, choripán, beers, empanadas and fried food. In addition, you can find healthier or more sophisticated options in the food trucks that are located in the various sites.

One of the classic dishes for carnival celebrations is the asado or parrilla. Uruguay is renowned for its quality meats, so it is no surprise that at celebrations of all kinds you can find various cuts of grilled meat. These are usually accompanied by sausages or chorizos and you can wash down the meal with a cold beer.

Another classic in Uruguay is the dulce de leche. In other countries you can get them as manjar, arequipe or cajeta and you can accompany them with pancakes or bread. In addition, they also make more elaborate dishes with this ingredient such as flan.

In addition, the city of Montevideo offers a wide variety of places where you can expand your gastronomic experience in the city. Some of the most famous places are: Uruguay Natural Parrilla Gourmet, Primuseum and La Pulpería.

 

Dulce de leche is the favorite sweet of Uruguay

Dulce de leche is the favorite sweet of Uruguay

 

Travel Insurance

 

From Carnavalesdelmundo.org we recommend to hire a good insurance to visit this carnival and to know the rest of the country. For being our readers we offer a 5% discount on all IATI insurances. Read more information about all insurance offers here:

 

 

What to see and do inside the Montevideo Carnival

?
Within the carnivals you can participate in a lot of events. If you attend the carnivals early in the morning, you can watch the Inaugural Parade, a ceremony that kicks off the official carnivals and features the participation of all the party groups. After this, you can attend the parade of the Samba Schools, as they have a unique and exclusive parade.

It is a mustto attend the Parade of Llamada, which counts with the participation of at least 40 groups that are composed of musicians, mamas viejas, percussionists, gramilleros and bailarines. In addition, we encourage you to approach the theatrical presentations that occur both in the different points of the city and in the Summer Theater.

If you don’t want to complicate things, here you can book interesting excursions in Spanish in this city:.

Guided tours in Spanish around the world

 

What to see and do outside of the Montevideo Carnivals

?
Some of the tourist attractions that the city of Montevideo has are:

 

Plaza Independencia

.
It is a mandatory stop in the city. In its surroundings you can find the Salvo Palace, Monument to Artigas and the city gate. In addition, you have several stores in the vicinity where you can eat something or relax with friends.

 

Agricultural Market

.
It is one of the largest municipal markets in the city. In its facilities you can find a large amount of local meat products, pasta and baked goods. In addition, it also has spaces for recreation.

 

Teatro Solís

.
This is the most important theater in the country. The building was inaugurated in 1856 and has a capacity for 1,500 people. Renowned artists and various orchestras have performed at the venue.

Also, if you want to visit museums and important buildings in this city we recommend that you book your ticket in advance through Tiquets: .

Book tickets in the city you are visiting

 

Safety in Montevideo Carnivals

.

 

Despite being one of the safest cities in Latin America, it is still a large city with petty crime.

To avoid becoming a victim of pickpockets or scammers, we recommend keeping your personal belongings in a safe place, paying attention to your surroundings and contacting the authorities if you manage to identify any suspicious activity. Also, we recommend the following products to keep your belongings safe:

 

 

Weather at the Montevideo Carnival

 

The weather in the city of Montevideo during Carnival is pleasant, with temperatures ranging between 19 and 27 degrees Celsius. During the night it can be a bit chilly, so we recommend packing a light coat.

 

The Montevideo Carnival has dozens of groups that perform in the parades

The Montevideo Carnival has dozens of groups that perform in the parades

.

 

How to get to the Montevideo Carnival

.

How to get there by plane

.
The closest airport to the city is the Carrasco International Airport Gral. Cesáreo L. Berisso, which receives a good number of national and international flights. From here you can use the different means of transport to get to the city center.

We recommend buying airline tickets through Kiwi.com or Skyscanner where they are usually cheaper. More information on this link to review Kiwi.com..

 

How to get there by boat

.
Buquebus is a company that provides daily travel services to Montevideo. The route is mainly from Buenos Aires to Montevideo.

 

How to get there by bus

.
From the airport you can take a bus company COT to the city center. The trip takes 30 minutes.

 

How to get there by car

.
From the airport you can take Av Italia until you reach the city center. The trip takes 30 minutes.

If you decide to take a cab, the price of a taxi ranges between 35 and 50 US dollars.

 

Where to stay in Montevideo Carnival

.



Booking.com

 

Hotel Alvear

.
3-star hotel 300 meters from the city center. Rooms feature cable TV, minibar and private bathroom. Facilities include airport transfers, bar, room service and wifi.

 

Crystal Tower

.
4-star hotel 300 meters from the city center. Rooms have minibar, television, air conditioning and private bathroom. The hotel has a gym, abr, airport transfers, parking and free wifi.

 

Crystal Palace Hotel

.
4-star hotel 400 meters from the city center. Rooms feature minibar and private bathroom with whirlpool tub. The hotel offers gym, bar, restaurant, airport transfers, parking and free wifi.

We recommend you use Booking.com to book hotels at a good price, check more information here:.



 

Thank you for reading

.

If you liked this article and found it useful share it on your social networks or collaborate by inviting us for a coffee at Paypal so we can continue creating useful content. Click here to collaborate:

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *