Arts & Entertainment

World’s longest carnival kicks off in Uruguay after Covid-induced absence

By Federico Anfitti

Montevideo, Jan 20 (EFE).- Streamers, lights, music and color filled the streets of Montevideo as the world’s longest carnival returned in Uruguay on Thursday after a two-year Covid-induced absence.

The inaugural parade of the carnival was held amid strict protocols and with a lower turnout than usual.

The summer of 2021 was quiet without the magical murga (musical theater) performances nor the roar of the drums through the streets of Sur and Palermo neighborhoods, but now the excitement has returned.

“Great joy, especially to recover this collective means of communication, is tremendously important for many people, especially in these times of so much isolation,” Yamandú Cardozo, one of the members of the Agarrate Catalina murga, told EFE.

Cheese Magro, a murga that is known for its humor and does not feature the traditional powerful voices typical of such performances, will focus this year on the economic crisis for which it has created cardboard suits.

Groups that sing songs tinged with satire, political and social criticism, also paraded along with the rest of the competing categories in the official carnival groups contest.

These included the Parodistas who tell stories through dance, the Revistas in the form of musical comedies, the Humoristas with their jokes, and the Comparsas through the candombe folk dance.

Montevideo Mayor Carolina Cosse told reporters on Thursday that the start of the carnival had been “very long awaited” by all Uruguayans since it is a day of “joy.”

This year, the parade did not take the traditional route through Montevideo’s main avenue 18 de Julio, but moved through the Rambla de Punta Carretas, along the coast of the Río de la Plata, as it is wider and better ventilated.

The carnival is taking place in the Paseo de las Canteras in Parque Rodo, one of the green lungs of the Uruguayan capital located a few meters from the Teatro de Verano, the temple of Momo, the king of Uruguay’s carnival, where the official competition of the participating groups will take place.

Although the capacity was less than usual – only 2,800 people were allowed and not all the spots were occupied – the smiles of the children, the shouts of the people and the laughter everywhere more than made up for it. EFE


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