Events in Argentina
Jan / Feb: Gualeguaychu Carnival
This is one of Argentina’s biggest festivals, rivalling the Rio Carnival. Held in Gualeguaychu, in the North East of Argentina, the Corosodroma seats up to 40,000 people. All of whom come to witness the amazing energy of this festival. Taking place over 9 Saturdays, there’s more than enough to keep you entertained, with colourful costumes, feathers, floats, five stages with music and singers. The key event is the crowning of the King of the Carnival – try saying that 5 times. This position is battled out between 4 samba clubs, known as comparsa, which consist of 700 dancers all trying to show why they’ve got the moves to win it. This really is a big festival!
Buenos Aires Tango Festival and World Tango Championship
These festivals are very similar but happen at two separate times of the year – well too much Tango all at once could cause an injury! During the Tango festival, which happens in the summer months of February, there are duos performing the traditional dance everywhere in the streets of Buenos Aires. There’s also the opportunity to take some beginners lessons free of charge, so you don’t get left out of the two-step fun.
The Tango festivals look like a warm up compared to this intensive fortnight. The first half of this summer festival begins with La Festival, a hub for Tango shows, recitals, classes, dances and even book signings and film screenings for the real enthusiasts. But the festival really comes to life when the main event kicks off. The Mundial de Tango is when the world championships begins, and seeing the professionals at work is a sight to see.
March: Tilcara Carnival
Now, this is something a little different, but it’s definitely the best way to experience the South American culture. In the centre of Quebrada de Humahuaca in the Jujuy and Salta province is a village carnival. And I don’t mean a village fete here, it really is a show! The festival opens with a puppet, representing the devil that opens up the gate to madness. All inhibitions – within reason – are lost as it is believed that the devil possesses the villager’s souls throughout the duration of the celebration.
When the festival is over the devil is placed in a hole and covered up until next year, letting things calm down a bit. Although it sounds a bit unnerving, this festival is still full of what South America does best, and that’s having fun. There are bright coloured costumes, mask, flags and crowds as well as a lot of alcohol! And this just keeps the party going!
April: Buenos Aires International Independent Film Festival
BAFICI for short, this 10-day festival celebrates all things film, allowing amateur producers to promote their films and actors and actresses to get their name out in to the world. This annual movie mania has been gracing the streets of Buenos Aires since 1999, gives viewers the chance to see the weird, wonderful and inspiring. Most films are, naturally, Latin American, but there are opportunities for English subtitles. Over eight theatres screen movies and tickets can go fast so get in the queue early. If you miss out on film tickets, you can go along to a Q&A session with producers, directors and actors as well as an award ceremony to finish off the event, so there’s no chance of missing out.
July: Argentina’s Independence Day
This celebration takes place all over Argentina and celebrates; you guessed it, when Argentina was granted independence in 1861 – to the day. Dressed in traditional clothing, this is less fireworks and more political but it still is an experience; with the Argentinean flag everywhere you look and performances at the Colon Theatre.
Why go all the way to Argentina for a German festival, I hear you cry? Although this may seem bizarre, this beer drinking bonanza is actually part of the Argentinean culture – and the beers are a lot cheaper too. The mountain range district of Villa General Belgrano is the location, and origins, of this adopted tradition.
Villa General Belgrano is well known for its German population, who accidentally ended up settling in the town after a German warship sunk off the Argentina coast in 1939, and with German efficiency and Argentinean passion, this festival goes all out. This corner of Argentina becomes an old-fashioned Munich, with Bavarian dancing, schnitzel, and traditional costumes. So make sure you’ve packed your lederhosen. The festival is kicked off in party manner with the beer barrels being smashed open as people desperately try to get a few drops of the free beer into their large mugs as this is meant to bring good luck – and what’s luckier than free beer?
November: Buenos Aires Gay Pride
Buenos Aires has been described as one of the most gay-friendly cities in South America. Home to plenty of gay bars and same-sex tango lessons, what would Buenos Aires be without a pride parade? Rainbow, glitter and pride – that’s all you really need for this festival. This fun party allows all members, and non-members of the LGBT community to let lose, have fun and celebrate who they are. This laid back dance fest attracts up to 250,000 people each year who pile into the Plaza de Mayo to celebrate.