Uruguayan Independence Day Festival 2012

So I went to the Uruguayan Independence Day celebration at Fairfield showground over the weekend. You might remember my post on last year’s festival but this year it happened to fall on my actual birthday. Hooray!

So what’s it all about. In a nutshell, it’s about remembering the importance of culture and passing it on to younger generations. It’s about learning about where you come from and celebrating a sense of community…And of course, its about the food!

This stall was selling mate cups which is traditionally made of silver and decorated in leather. Mate is a popular South American infused drink that is made up of yerba (like tea leaves) and hot water. Rather than be strained, the tea is drunk through a bombilla (metal straw) that acts as a straw and a sieve.

Some delicious Dulce De Leche desserts

And the motherload… Asado as far as the eye can see. Vegetarians look away now…

These community members volunteer their time and efforts to feed the thousands that walk through the gates.

I spoke to the creator of the the recreation of the miniature of Uruguay’s iconic ‘Parque Rodo’.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqPDEQxKNBk&feature=youtu.be[/youtube]

This is a project that he and his wife do together and he mentions, “we don’t really watch too much tv or movies so this helps pass the time. I use recycled objects, toys, plastic bottles to make everything you see.”  You can see the looks on people’s faces, the sense of wonder that a display like this creates and it’s truly just magical.

This is a new edition to this year’s display. As is the Mini Zoo below.

He is such a gentle man and it made me smile when he said, “people say that I just play with toys all day and that I should do something else with my time…but I love it.”

The gentleman has an exercise book that he puts in front of the display and when they get home, the husband and wife sit down and read all the lovely comments together. I asked my mum what she thought about the display and she said, “it really just takes me back to the wonderful memories I had a as child.”

So of course there was lots of cultural displays such as dancers from El Salavador, Uruguay, Peru and of course the deafening drums of the Candombe group.

The Candombe group performs using their loud drumming to announce that the parade is about to begin.
Here are some of the highlights of this exhilarating experience – It’s certainly about being loud and proud!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1UVLRQP1qA&feature=youtu.be[/youtube]

It’s really a thrilling experience hearing and seeing the parade. If you get in the front row like I was, you can feel the energy of the crowd. With the parade so close, I had to hang back to avoid being smacked in the face with a drum, ostrich feather or over sized waving flag.

Of course it’s the beautiful girls that draws in the crowd, but when the Candombe group pass you, the feeling is very invigorating and really makes your heart beat faster. The deafening sound and rhythm of the drums is completely overwhelming and almost too quickly fleeting as the parade moves on.

Until next year…

Love, Festival Girl

 

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