Uruguay’s Carnival celebration is the longest in the world with 40 days of events extending from the last part of January through the first part of March.
One of the most popular carnival events in Uruguay is a parade called Llamadas (the calls - meaning drum calls) that will take place on the Montevideo street of Isla de Flores on January 31 and February 1, 2013. (Video of last year's Las Llamadas below.)
Carnival is a festival season that proceeds lent, a 40-day period for prayer and self-denial leading up to Easter.
The Uruguayan carnival parades are unique in that they are composed of Candombe groups known as ¨comparsas¨. Each Condombe group has a cast of carnival characters, which include persons waving large flags and others holding images of a moon or stars on poles, a group of female dancers, a clown-like transvestite, an old man and an old woman, a man holding a stick or broom, and a large group of Candombe drummers.
During the parades, there is a space between each Comparsa so the sound of one does not interfere with the other.
Although Candombe groups are comprised mostly by people of Spanish and Italian descent, the Candombe rhythms, as well as many of the images and dress are a tribute to Afro-Uruguayan heritage.
For more information and schedule of events, check out the official Carnival in Uruguay website.