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Wednesday 25 December 2013

Christmas In The Most Secular Country In Latinamerica

Long before pot legalization and gay marriage, Uruguay was a freak in the local scene: a country that for the last 100 years or so was officially secular in the most catholic region on earth.  A Spanish-speaking Latin American country who's majority of citizens don't care very much about religion.  Rates of church attendance in Uruguay are as low or lower than most western European nations; insanely lower than any of its neighbours.

So Christmas is not really about Jesus here.  On the other hand, its also not about winter, obviously. We're in the middle of summer, and on Christmas eve day it hit 40 degrees Celcius (don't know what that is in American, but its fucking hot).

So its not about snowmen or sleigh rides or hot cocoa or turkey or fireplaces, either. Its about Santa Claus of course, for the kids; but for everyone else, its mostly about loud music, late dinners, drinking, and especially fireworks.

This is the first fireworks for me since moving to The Abbey; and i have to say its spectacular.  Before, I would watch them from the balcony; and since in this country absolutely everyone gets fireworks and shoots them all over the place (with no regard for any kind of laws or basic common sense) you get quite a show no matter where you are in the city.  People of all ages, and all across the class spectrum, spend small and large fortunes in buying fireworks and then drunkenly firing them off every which way at midnight on Christmas and New Year (yes, every single year fires are started, property is destroy and people die here for Christmas).  So its quite the show, but in my old place quite a bit of that was blocked off due to being in a tall building, balcony facing one direction, with tall buildings in front.

Here, the Abbey roof (which is flat, paved, and has a patio area) is in the middle of the block and every building around is only as tall or shorter than itself.  This means I get to see fireworks in every direction.  It was quite a show.

Anyways, hope the rest of you have a nice Christmas too; now its off to wait for the Doctor Who special!

I leave you with one of my favorite Christmas songs, which coincidentally captures Christmas in secular summery Uruguay to a tee.


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Tempesta + Argento Latakia

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