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The Carnival in Uruguay

With a long history that goes back behind at least the mid-nineteenth century, said the Uruguayan Carnival is the longest in the world (about 40 days). While its development extends across the country with important events in several cities of the interior, the main activities are in Montevideo. The opening, from this year (so it does not gather with the start of classes in the school system), it is mid-January, the celebration extends throughout February, culminating in early March. Only two days, according to the calendar, are holidays, but working for private companies.

It has two major branches (though not the only) that are not antagonistic but rather complement: murgas, of Spanish origin, whose lyrics are rich in humor and social satire and political voice of the people, and played an important socio-cultural role during the dictatorship (1973-1984), and the candombe, black African origin, it recreates the African origins of black slaves and colonial times, with its costumes, songs and dances, cultures and religions, and its natural evolution to this day. They join the other categories Comedians, parodists and Magazines.

Carnival Preparation begins in mid last year, while they prepare the costumes, lyrics, music, etc..; Election in December Carnival Queens and calls the 18 zones or decentralized districts of Montevideo, sponsored of local governments (2) Admission Test, etc.

The candidates for Queen of Carnival and calls are elected in neighborhoods through events organized by local government bodies (Local and Neighborhood Council Board) and social organizations, neighborhood associations, cooperatives, etc. each area, with the support of the Departments of Culture and Decentralization of the Municipality of Montevideo. In these events are chosen Zonal Queens both categories. The neighbors also have an important role in organizing the various activities of the Carnival in neighborhoods.

The most popular festival Uruguayan Carnival transcends itself, representing an important part of culture that is reflected celebrate and exihibe-in "time" Carnival. For these activities, in different ways, are "practice" throughout the year in official events, workshops, shows and festivals, and spontaneously in the neighborhoods, both in regard to the street musicians and the candombe. It is also transmitted by oral tradition from generation to generation, reminding-in barbecues and family parties and friends-the old music and lyrics.

The preparation of Carnival passes by choosing the queens zonal shortlisting the sets in different categories, also in December last year, the Carnival of Promises (children and adolescents) in early January (with parade and competition included), which brings together dozens of children's groups, and more than 1,000 children, and so it is not the making of the costumes, the lyrics and music, the rehearsals, the neighbors meet to organize their stages and Corsican neighborhoods, etc..

The official launch of Montevideo Carnival takes place with a ceremony in the presence of the mayor of Montevideo, national government representatives (Culture and Tourism, among others), the Carnaval groups, mayors of the Departmental Board of Montevideo (3) and of the 18 local governments and neighborhood committees responsible for the preparation of the party in each area, as part of the process of decentralization and citizen participation.


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