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Jesus Christ at Tierra Santa, Buenos Aires
Jesus Christ at Tierra Santa, Buenos Aires | © Kevin Jones/Flickr

How to Celebrate Easter in Argentina

Picture of Sorcha O'Higgins
Updated: 1 March 2018

Argentina is technically a Catholic country, so Easter is celebrated here. However, the festivities are a little bit more low key than in other South American countries where Semana Santa, or Holy Week, is a time of serious celebration. We tell you everything you need to know about celebrating Easter in Argentina.

As with many religious holidays in Argentina, such as Christmas, closely followed by New Year’s Eve, Easter is a family occasion. Home in Argentina is definitely where the heart is, and most locals will return to their parents’ houses at Easter to gather together with the whole family in celebration of this Catholic event. In 2018, Semana Santa will begin on Sunday March 25th and end on Saturday March 31st. Holy Week is a time of both celebration and relaxation, with many people taking holidays around this time and going to the country. However, be warned that in Argentina, when a bank holiday comes around, everyone takes advantage of the free time, so traffic into and out of the cities can be nightmarish. Plan to leave early or late so that you miss the rush, which can often triple your travel time. These holiday seasons are also some of the priciest times of year to travel, so make sure you have budgeted correctly.

Depending on where in Argentina you are for Holy Week, the celebrations tend to differ. In the northern provinces of Salta and Jujuy, celebrations tend to have a more indigenous bend, because owing to their proximity to Bolivia and Peru, the traditional Argentine Catholicism is infused with devotion to Pachamama, or Mother Earth, a deity worshipped in the Andes and by ancient communities. Nevertheless, the festivities usually centre around street parties, parades, processions and rituals, and these can be experienced in every urban centre and rural community all over the country.

And of course, no family celebration would be complete in Argentina without a heavy focus on food. There are certain times of year, such as Easter and Independence Day, where certain foods are consumed, such as locro, pan dulce and fried pastries. Families come together, with each member bringing something in a sort of pot-luck fashion, and sit around the table for hours eating and, of course, drinking Argentina’s famous Malbec. Going to church on Easter isn’t really a thing, as it is more a family than religious celebration.