Tag Archives: Ash Wednesday

The Longest Party in the World

Although Carnival, the traditional festivities celebrated by Christians around the world before Lent begins, has already come and gone, one country has the distinction of hosting the longest Carnival celebrations of any other nation.

The people of Uruguay, a South American country located on the Atlantic coast and nestled between Brazil and Argentina, celebrates Carnival for 40 days!

Although the Carnival celebrations in Brazil gain more attention, Uruguay’s Carnival has religious, cultural, social, and political meaning.

Like most countries, Uruguay hosts parades as part of their Carnival celebrations. The¬†Desfile de Carnaval, which means the Carnival Parade, and the Desfile de Llamadas, the “Calls Parade”, which is a re-enactment of colonial times.

In addition, Uruguay has a strong musical and comedy tradition. Street performances, called murga, mix music, acting, and comedy and are used to amuse and entertain children while offering biting political satire for grown-ups.

Judges visit the murga in different neighborhoods and award prizes for the best.

Although Carnival in Uruguay ended on Ash Wednesday, there’s plenty of time to make plans to visit Uruguay for Carnival 2013!

 

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What is Ash Wednesday?

Photo courtesy TimesUnion.com

Ash Wednesday is celebrated by many Christian religions as the beginning of Lent, a time of prayer, fasting, and sacrifice in the 40 days leading up to Easter.

On Ash Wednesday, Christians attend church and receive a cross marked on their forehead in ashes as a sign of repentance.

Once you receive the ashes, you are not supposed to wipe them off. Instead, it is intended that you will leave them until they gradually wear off.

The ashes are typically made by burning the palm fronds that are given out on Palm Sunday during the previous Lent.

 

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