Common Holidays in South America

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Common Holidays in South America

South America is known for its vibrant culture, delicious food, and lively festivities. One of the best ways to experience this culture is by celebrating the numerous holidays that occur throughout the year. From religious holidays to historical commemorations, South America has a diverse range of celebrations that bring together locals and tourists alike.


Perhaps the most well-known holiday in South America is Carnaval. Celebrated in countries like Brazil, Argentina, and Colombia, Carnaval is a wild four-day celebration that takes place leading up to Ash Wednesday. It is a time of colorful parades, music, dancing and revelry. Each country has their own unique take on the holiday, but Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is the most famous and attracts millions of visitors from around the world.

Day of the Dead

The Day of the Dead is a holiday celebrated throughout Mexico, but is also observed in other parts of South America. The holiday is a fusion of pre-Hispanic and Catholic traditions, and it is a time of mourning and commemoration of loved ones who have passed away. People create altars with offerings such as flowers and food, and visit cemeteries to spend time with the spirits of the departed. The holiday runs from October 31st to November 2nd and is a colorful and elaborate celebration of life and death.

Inti Raymi

Inti Raymi, or the Festival of the Sun, is an Incan celebration that occurs on the winter solstice in Cusco, Peru. It is a reenactment of the Incan New Year celebration, and it includes a procession from the city center to the Incan fortress of Sacsayhuaman. The festival is a colorful and lively celebration of Incan culture and heritage.

Independence Day

Independence Day is celebrated across South America, commemorating the day each country gained independence from its respective colonial power. The dates and celebrations vary depending on the country. For example, in Argentina, the anniversary of the May Revolution on May 25th is celebrated with parades and feasts. In Colombia, Independence Day is celebrated on July 20th with fireworks and concerts.

Christmas and New Year’s Eve

Christmas and New Year’s Eve are celebrated with great enthusiasm throughout South America. Many people attend midnight mass on Christmas Eve and then celebrate with family and friends. New Year’s Eve is also a big celebration, with fireworks, music, and food. In some countries, such as Ecuador and Bolivia, it is also traditional to burn effigies of popular figures to symbolize leaving the troubles of the past year behind.


South America is a continent full of vibrant culture and traditions, and the numerous holidays celebrated throughout the year offer a wonderful opportunity to experience these customs first-hand. From the wild party of Carnaval to the somber remembrance of the Day of the Dead, South American holidays are full of color, music, and joy. No matter which holiday you choose to celebrate, you are sure to have an unforgettable experience.

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