When people think of Carnival celebrations, most people automatically think of the huge and famous parades and parties in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Venice, Italy. However, you might be interested to know that here in Argentina, Carnival is a national holiday, and almost all businesses and public services shut down for two entire days!

Interestingly, this is the first time since 1975 that it has been a national holiday. In 1976 the military government passed a law prohibiting celebrating carnival, and even after democracy returned to the country, the carnival holiday was never fully reinstated. Because of this, there aren’t a lot of traditions for Carnival in Argentina besides a large festival in Gualeguaychú in the north of the country, and especially not in Buenos Aires. This year the city government has planed several “murgas” (carnival bands) performances around the city, so it will be interesting to see how the attendance is.

Even though many Argentines I’ve met have mixed feelings about more national holidays being added to the calendar, most Argentines are seeing it as another great reason to invite family and friends to their home, have an asado, and drink some good argentine Malbec. Hey, I’m all for a day off of work and tasting some new wines too!