5 popular celebrations in Latin America

August 18, 2022

The richness and diversity of Latin culture is expressed throughout its territory. You can discover the essence of 5 of its countries through their popular festivals.

The cultural manifestations of each region are a portrait of their history and the idiosyncrasy of their people. Customs, belives and events that marked their path are reflected in their popular festivities. Some of these festivities have international fame, including several that have crossed the borders of their countries of origin to be celebrated in other latitudes.

Although each Latin American country has their own particular celebrations, let’s see in detail a selection of 5 popular festivals that definitely have worldwide renown.

1. Inti Raymi

The Festival of the Sun or Inti Raymi is celebrated during the winter solstice in the southern hemisphere. It is the most relevant ancestral celebration of the Inca civilization where they asked the sun god to return.

Currently, it is kept as a theatrical representation full of mysticism and tradition.  This is how every June 24, the city of Cusco, Peru, is filled with thousands of locals and visitors to witness in 3 acts the majesty and the most important rituals of the Inca Empire.

Although the largest gathering of people to celebrate the Feast of the Sun takes place in Cusco, other locations outside Peru also celebrate this event.  Thus, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile and Ecuador also keep the Inca legacy alive.

2. Rio de Janeiro Carnivals

For 4 days Brazil shines with a vibrant Rio de Janeiro full of colors, music, dances, parades and exotic costumes. The carnival is a party of joy, fruit of an explosive mixture of European and African culture.

Numerous samba schools gather at this event to leave a message, compete and show off all their splendor after having chosen a theme that represents them. What you see in these parades is the result of a whole year of preparation involving people of all ages and social classes.

The coronation of the King Momo kicks off the festivities that go far beyond the parade at the Sambódromo. The whole city turns into a party and offers different public and private alternatives for visitors to have fun to the rhythm of the most important carnival in the world.

3. The Flower Fair

During the first days of August, Medellín is adorned with one of the most emblematic festivities in Colombia. For 10 days, the Flower Fair takes over the city to offer a variety of activities that exalt the traditions and values of the region.

The main event is the parade of the silleteros, where large quantities of flowers are carried on wooden pieces with handles. This act recalls how farmers used to transport flowers in the twentieth century to market them in different towns in the area. Likewise, these silletas were formerly used to carry people through the mountains in colonial times.

In addition, the National Equine Fair, the classic car parade, the Orchestra Festival, the National Championship of Sound on Wheels, and the National Trova Festival, among other events, are held.

4. Grape Harvest Festival

The word “vendimia” has to do with the harvesting and gathering of grapes, but for the province of Mendoza in Argentina it means much more than that.  Inspired by Italian celebrations, this popular event begins at the beginning of the year and culminates in March with the great National Festival.  Dance, theater, music, lights, scenery and costumes are some of the protagonists in these festivities.

The town of Mendoza is the main wine producer in the southern country and every year it celebrates in style. The Blessing of the Fruits, the White Way of the Queens and the Carousel give way to the majesty of the Central Act at the Frank Romero Day Greek Theater.

For the Central Act of the Grape Harvest Festival of this year 2022 a staging entitled “Blue Symphony for the new wine” is planned.  Acrobats, musicians, actors and dancers will add up to a multitudinous team of more than 1,000 artists who will bring the exquisite evening to life.

5. Day of the Dead

Ancient customs of the native peoples with some Spanish overtones are reflected in Mexico’s most important holiday, the Day of the Dead. Every November 2, Mexicans follow an intimate family tradition as a way to meet with their deceased loved ones.

It is believed that on this day the souls of the dead return to the world of the living. In some homes, altars are built with photos of the deceased and offerings are placed; visitors are even allowed to enter the homes to see the altars and are given atole and the traditional pan de muerto (bread of the dead).  Likewise, families go to the graves in the cemeteries to light candles, bring flowers and gifts.

Since this tradition has been popularized through Hollywood movies, a colorful parade with dancers, colorful costumes, giant skulls and other allegorical elements takes place in Mexico City. This event is a great tourist attraction and receives millions of people from different parts of the world.

The history and culture of Latin America is kept alive year after year through its popular festivities. What is your favorite Latin festivity? Tell us in our social networks.