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Montevideo Carnival

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Category: festival
Where: Montevideo, Uruguay
When: 26 Jan - 10 Feb 2015
Website: http://www.carnaval.com/uruguay/

Carnival Week is considered the annual national festival of the nation. While the Carnaval extends to all the country with important events in several cities of the interior, the main activities are made in the capital of Montevideo.

Although this ‘fiesta’ is officially only given two days of public holiday for the Carnaval Monday and Shrove Tuesday preceding Ash Wednesday, most shops and businesses close for the entire week. Homes and streets are grandly decorated,  humorous shows are staged at open-air theaters,  "tablados" or popular scenes (fixed and movable) are erected in the commercial districts. There are many competitions for murgas, black societies and lubolos, humorists, parodistas and magazines

The preparation of the Carnival begins months earlier with the election of the zonal queens; often in December of the previous year. The Carnival of the Promises or the children's parade occurs at the beginning of the month of January

The official launching of the Montevideo Carnival done with significant pomp and ceremony calling upon representatives of the national government,  carnaval groups, and various local officials including members of the commissions responsible for the preparation of the celebration in each Zone of Montevideo. The Department of Culture is the main organizer of this annual national festival.

A great highlight of the Montevideo Carnaval is the Parade of the Calls in the old districts Sur and Palermo. The Calls evoke the encounter of the "enslaved black" of the colonial days and in the freedom of the Candombe, which has made a fundamental contribution to  Uruguayan culture.  A featured event of Montevideo Carnaval, the attracts the most visitors  "Desfile de las Llamadas" is a big united parade on Montevideo's Avenida 18 de Julio.The 'black' carnaval is called "Las Llamadas" ("The Calls", because in former times the different carnaval groups "called" each other with their tambors). Many seats are sold in advance for this parade.

There is also usually a major parade on January 6th, as the observed holiday of the epiphany marks the beginning of the Carnaval season in many cultures

The local commissions are very important in making the Carnaval great each year. Besides establishing a citizen partnership for the administration of the Carnaval with local government, they hold the Queen contest and raise funds for prizes and other expenses of the Carnaval. The decentralized quality to the Carnaval is part of the long heritage of these citizens committees dedicated to improving the quality of life of the neighbors and, fundamentally, deepening the democracy.

Important. The dates vary every year, please, check the dates of carnival the year you are interested in.

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