Día de los Muertos is a world-famous celebration that honors the dead. It’s based in the pre-Hispanic belief that the dead return in the first days of November. To welcome them, people set up altars with offerings and toys and wear costumes featuring flowery skulls, which have become a symbol of the country.
The tribute to the Sun God of the Incas also marks the winter solstice in the Andes. The celebration is held on June 24 in downtown Cusco and in the fortress of Sacsayhuaman, on the outskirts of the city. From the bleachers, visitors watch the ceremonies and parades with dance and music performances, as well as costumes typical of the Inca culture.
The first Saturday of March is a big day in Mendoza: it’s when the Grape Harvest Festival takes place. Celebrated all over the world, it has been an attraction in itself in this Argentine city for 70 years, with great light shows and performances – obviously, with plenty of the region’s famous Malbec wines. Cheers!
Every year, in early August, the city of Medellín fills its streets with flowers to welcome almost a million tourists who come for this colorful celebration. In addition to the 'silleteros' parade (where farmers carry several flower arrangements) and the Orchestras Festival, you can also watch dance and music performances.
A part of the Christian calendar, Carnival is celebrated all over the world – but in Brazil it seems to express all its festive potential. The party is different in each region: in Recife, the typical music is frevo; in Salvador, bands on floats attract multitudes, featuring Afro-Brazilian percussion sounds; in Rio, samba reigns supreme in the samba school parades and the streets are invaded by revelers.
Preserving the local folklore, this festival in Amazonas, held in the last weekend of June, features three nights of performances related to the Boi Campineiro folktale. It’s a huge festival, with songs and a classic staging of a fight between a blue ox (Caprichoso) and a red ox (Garantido). Pick a side!
The creation of the city of Valdivia is the reason for one of the main celebrations in the country, which also marks the end of summer. Every year, on February 9, over 40 originally decorated vessels sail through the Calle-Calle River, competing for the “Most Beautiful” prize. Visitors can enjoy the show and also try typical foods and listen to traditional songs, interrupted only by the fireworks display.
Every year, the village of La Tirana attracts religious people on the week of July 16 to pay homage to Virgen del Carmen, the patron saint of the city. The festival includes offerings with Incan and Christian compositions, as well as choreographed parades of natives in costumes.
The small town of Palmares, Costa Rica, is home to one of the country’s main events. During the two-week celebration, over a million people take to the streets to watch folk dance performances, shows and parades. The highlight of the event’s lineup includes the tope, a huge cavalcade with thousands of skilled participants.
Celebrated twice a year, in September and in November, La Mama Negra features Christian, African and Indian elements, in an effort to appreciate the importance of the syncretism between these cultures. During the festival, the streets in the city of Latacunga are filled with dancers wearing Ecuadorian clothing or masks of picturesque characters – with a highlight to Mama Negra, a local depiction of the Virgin and the event’s protagonist.