Crazy for Carnival: 6 Latin American Celebrations

I found this year that a lot of my friends decided to adopt the popular UK tradition of Dry January—this radical idea of not consuming any alcohol for the entire month of January! I don’t know about you, but that phrase doesn’t quite work too well in my vocab or lifestyle as I’m recovering from the holiday stress and working on getting rid of those holiday bills. But if you did stay true to those die-hard New Year’s resolutions, why not #treatyourself a bit. Carnival is just around the corner, and every corner of the world is ready to kick off the celebrations.

What was originally a pagan festival meant to enjoy those last morsels of food before the winter supply ran out has gained religious connotations to intersect with the Christian calendar. Carnival today is celebrated in all kinds of ways—from religious, to spiritual, to festive, to just straight up cray. Here’s what you can look forward to at some of the world’s most marvelous celebrations that kick off during the weekend leading up to Mardi Gras on February 13.

Barranquilla Sign HipLatina

Photo Credit El Mar

Barranquilla, Colombia

With 300,000 expected visitors, up 20% from last year, hotels and restaurants are planning to be at full capacity. With a focus on both traditional folklore and the modern, Colombia’s iconic celebration is said to be the second largest in the world after Rio’s. The parades are almost never ending—with themes ranging from the “Battle of the Flowers” to the closing “Death of Carnival” parade. A bit harsh of a name considering we just have to wait 365 days until the next one! And if you can’t make it for Carnival, the party never really stops. Our fave Barranquilla native, Shakira, perhaps says it best—her hips don’t lie because “en Barranquilla se baila así.




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