The Argentina social calendar is filled to the brim with holidays and traditions that have been passed down through generations. A large portion of the Argentine population is Roman Catholic, and as such many of the country’s major holidays centre on holy days. Many others are based on historical events that have impacted Argentina in a big way and lent a guiding hand to shape the country into the amazing place it is today. We’ve put together a list of the major festivals and holidays in Argentina, though wherever and whenever you travel you’re sure to come across festivals celebrating minor saints and other traditional days.
National holidays (feriados nacionales) are non-working days and public holidays (fiestas publicas) are dedicated to religious celebration but are still normal working days. Examples of public holidays are Epiphany, Carnival, Corpus Christi and All Saints’ Day. Most national holidays are on a fixed date, but some of them are flexible like Flag Day and the Day of San Martin. Both holidays are moved to the third Monday of that particular month.
Every year in January, the Fiesta Nacional del Folcloro is held in Cosquin, which is near Cordoba. The festival celebrates Argentina’s long folkloric traditions with music, dancing and plenty of traditional food and drink to keep you full throughout the whole festival.
If you are in Argentina near the end of February and beginning of March you won’t be able to avoid Carnival celebrations—and you won’t want to miss it! Travel to any of the most popular cities for celebrations like Corrientes or Gualeguaychu or Santiago del Estoro and you are guaranteed some of the best partying and festivities. Festivities usually include elaborate processions, intricate and sparkly costumes, and plenty of dancing, drinking, music and general merrymaking through the night.
The Fiesta Nacional de la Vendimia also takes place for a week near the end of February in Mendoza. The festival serves as a homage to the grape harvest and is a great excuse to tour the many wineries in Mendoza and taste some of their best wines while enjoying the incredible processions that make up this festival and celebrate the highly-treasured beverage!
There is one more festival that takes place in both February and March in Argentina: Buenos Aires Tango Festival. If you enjoy Argentine tango, be sure to attend this event. There are thousands of performances all over the city and there are more than a few opportunities to get in on the action and learn a few steps of the most famous dance in Argentina.
April is dedicated to the Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente in Buenos Aires. This is when all sorts of national and international films come together and are shown by independent film makers to a large audience. If you are a fan of cinematography, then head to this festival to spot up-and-coming talents in their first projects.
Arte BA takes place in Buenos Aires and is a great event for contemporary art lovers. It takes place May 11-18 and is an enormous arts festival where high quality exhibitions pop up all over the city for anyone who’s passing to enjoy and purchase.
The 20th of June is the anniversary of the passing of Manuel Belgrano in 1820—the man who designed Argentina’s flag. During the Semana de la Bandera (Week of the Flag), citizens in Rosario pay their respects and the National Flag Monument. During Flag Day in Rosario, Argentina’s largest flag is carried around the town.
For 10 days in August, the beautiful ski city of Bariloche, located in Argentina's Lake District celebrates the Fiesta Nacional de la Nieve (National Snow Fiesta) a definite must for lovers of the slopes. Many of the early settlers to this area came from Switzerland and during this festival hot port wine and Swiss cake are served everywhere.
In August, Jujuy residents celebrate the Semana de Jujuy. This attractive city in the northwest region of Argentina bursts into life for a week of partying to celebrate the founding of the city.
Similar to the events in August, La Hoya ski resort located in Esquel, Patagonia celebrates the Fiesta Nacional del Esqui (National Ski Festival) which is the perfect excuse to participate in another snow-filled and fun-packed party.
Villa General Belgrano, near Cordoba celebrates an interesting cultural festival. The first two weeks of October are dedicated to celebrating Oktoberfest, beer and the German culture of the region with a massive beer festival and numerous other activities.
There is also an incredible tribute to the Welsh heritage of Trelew and the other Welsh villages of the Chubut Valley (Patagonia) in October. Locals have been celebrating the Eisteddfodau since 1875. If you're interested in Welsh music and literature, this week-long festival is the best time to learn all about it firsthand.
Make sure you are in San Antonio de Areco on the week of the 10th for the Día de la Tradición (Day of Tradition) which is actually a whole week of celebrations and fiesta in honour of Argentina's Gaucho tradition. Expect to see lots of cowboy-esque activities, traditional food and drink, music and dancing all in the heart of Gaucho land, Las Pampas.
Beyond traditional celebrations of Christmas throughout the entire country, there is the Festival de Chamame in Corrientes that celebrates an unusual but traditional style of music with plenty of concerts and dancing. New Year’s Eve is also widely celebrated with the requisite music and dancing, fireworks and a ticker tape parade if you are celebrating in Buenos Aires.
Plan your holiday around one of these major festivals in Argentina and you are sure to get a culturally rich and interactive impression of the culture in this country. Before you depart, consider getting worldwide travel insurance to protect your holiday from an unexpected problems. Cover-More Australia has a variety of plans to choose from so you have get a policy that reflects your unique needs.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Gobierno de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires