Carnival season in Argentina comes each year in February or March, as in many other Roman Catholic countries. The date varies, but it always immediately precedes Ash Wednesday, which is the first day of a 40-day Lenten fast leading up to Easter.
In Argentina, both the Monday and Tuesday just preceding Ash Wednesday are public holidays for Carnival.
Carnival was brought over to Argentina, then the colony of “La Plata”, by Spanish and other settlers from Europe in the 1600’s. The Spanish Carnival traditions later were influenced by African and other traditions, making Argentine Carnival a unique celebration.
The biggest, wildest Carnival events in Argentina occur in Gualeguaychu, where there are parades every weekend from January till March. And throughout the whole northern region of Argentina, Carnival is much celebrated.
In some parts, on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday, the relationship between mothers and grandmothers is celebrated as a kind of Carnival tradition. It is called “tincunaco ceremony”. A line of mothers will meet with a line of grandmothers under a willow-branch arch that is decked out with candy, fruits, cheeses, flowers, and lanterns. They will exchange dolls as a part of the ceremony as well.
In Argentina, much feasting and revelry takes place just before the Lenten fast begins. During Lent, all meat and certain other pleasures are abstained from by devout Roman Catholics.