Sunday 27 March 2016

Holidays & Festivals in Argentina By Virginia Franco, Demand Media

Argentina's gauchos are commemorated during El Dia de Tradicion.

The South American nation of Argentina is filled with holidays and traditions passed down from generation to generation. Because a large majority of the Argentine population is Roman Catholic, many of the country's major holidays center around holy days. Others are based on historical events that made a deep and lasting impression on the country and its people, and lent a guiding hand in shaping it into the Argentina of today.

El Dia de Tradicion

El Dia de Tradicion, or the Day of Tradition, is celebrated annually on November 10 following a week or so of parties, concerts, parades and feasts. November 10 marks the anniversary of the birth of Jose Hernandez, an Argentine gaucho who lived on the Pampas during the mid-19th century. As a self-taught writer and poet, Hernandez wrote "El Gaucho Martin Fierro," an enormously popular poem considered one of the greatest works in Argentine literature detailing his viewpoint about the challenges and injustices facing the gauchos of the time. In his honor, towns and cities across Argentina celebrate with parades and gaucho celebrations known as peñas. Vendors sell traditional food like asado (beef cooked in a an open-faced brick oven), empanadas (meat pies), and mate (a herbal drink). In some peñas festivities, gaucho games as well as rodeos are part of the fun, and men dressed in gaucho attire display their equestrian ability.

El Carnaval del Pais

Two weeks prior to Lent, Argentina celebrates El Carneval del Pais much like New Orleans celebrates Mardi Gras, and Brazil celebrates Carnivale. Many gather to enjoy the festivities, in part because the day is considered a public holiday, which closes several businesses and schools. The town of Gualeguaychu, located between Buenos Aires and Iguazu Falls, hosts the largest Carnaval celebration in the country. The town's 38,000-seat center known as the Corsodromo hosts a "Kings of the Carneval" celebration, where samba clubs, musicians and singers compete for the title. In Buenos Aires proper, most neighborhoods celebrate with street musicians knowns as "murgas" and artists. During Carnival, people dress in costume and dance in the streets. Traditional fare is served, with a nod to Roman Catholicism by replacing beef with fish during this "kickoff" to Lent. Corn stew, humitas en chala (corn patties wrapped and cooked in the husk), and Bocaditos--finger sandwiches made with shrimp--are popular during Carnaval.

La Revolucion de Mayo

La Revolucion de Mayo (the May Revolution) occurs each year on May 25 to mark the anniversary of Argentine independence from Spain in 1810. Also called Dia Nacional, or National Day, it is considered a public holiday in Argentina. Additionally, most public transportation is free during the holiday for those attending any festivities. National Day kicks off with parades, music and Argentine fare. Festivities begin around mid-day and run late into the evening. National Day is usually brought to a close with a singing of the country's national anthem, but not before local government officials make speeches and proclamations.
*Culled from

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