South America is a continent that prides on its colorful and festive celebrations all year round. Here are the top 5 South American festivals that promise to provide unique and memorable experiences:
Carnival – Brazil
The Carnival in Brazil is one of the most famous and attended festivals in the world.
From a few days before Lent starts up until noontime of Ash Wednesday, the entire country, particularly the city of Rio de Janeiro, transforms into a dynamic and vibrant place, with music, dancing, and a parade of people wearing bright-colored costumes, scheduled throughout this five-day holiday.
Semana Santa – Colombia
Semana Santa, or Holy Week, is a major Catholic holiday that commemorates the sufferings and death of Jesus Christ.
In Colombia, going all out for the Semana Santa is not unheard of. Masses, processions, and other solemn religious events are held, usually starting Maundy Thursday up until late Black Saturday. And, on Easter Sunday, everyone gets on a festive mood to rejoice the anniversary of Christ’s resurrection through music, dances, parades, and exhibitions.
Fiesta de San Juan Bautista – Venezuela
San Juan Bautista, or Saint John the Baptist, was an esteemed icon of the Catholic Church, a religious leader who baptized numerous people, including Jesus Christ, back in the day.
June 24, his birth date, is a day of celebration in Venezuela where parades, dancing, and partying happen on the streets. People also sprinkle rum onto passersby, a gesture that symbolizes the baptism ritual.
Inti Raymi – Peru
A religious ceremony to honor Incan god Inti, Inti Raymi is a festival observed during the Winter Solstice.
Before the Spanish Inquisition, the people of Cuzco celebrated the feast by sacrificing an animal to the Sun God in exchange for good harvest and to pay respect to the Inca.
Today, it is a popular South American festival that seeds thousands of people gathered in Cuzco, taking part in street fairs, dancing, music concerts, and parties.
Fiesta de la Virgen de Candelaria – Bolivia
A festival dedicated to the miraculous Virgin Mary sculpture made by an Inca craftsman 439 years ago, the Fiesta de la Virgen de Candelaria is a major annual celebration in Bolivia, particularly in Copacabana, from February 2 to February 5.
During the holiday, pilgrims, dancers, and tourists from other parts of Bolivia, Peru, and around the world gather to the streets of Copacabana, dancing to traditional music, and enjoying local drinks and cusines.