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January in Argentina's northern province of Jujuy is an a exciting month packed with folklore events.
Encuentro de pesebres (Nativity meetings). The birth of Jesus is a huge deal in Jujuy and the locals celebrate it by caroling in front of nativity scenes for about a month, beginning on Advent in early December up until Epiphany on 6 January. Pretty much every family in Jujuy constructs a nativity scene outside their home; some families go all out sparing no expense. The carolers are primarily children who go from house to house singing and worshiping in front of each manger. In many cases the children also perform a sort of maypole dance while they sing, if the pole and ribbons are available.
Encuentro de copleros (Bard meeting). Groups of native ballad singers from the Quebrada, the Puna and the Valles gather in Purmamarca. They take turns singing ballads about everyday life using tunes that identify their place of origin. The audience participates by repeating each verse in chorus, creating a festive and inclusive atmosphere.
Enero Tilcareño (Tilcara’s January). Tilcara hosts a two-week long festival beginning on the Saturday after Epiphany. There are conferences, folk dances, exhibitions, literary presentations, sports competitions, and recreational games. The nights of the first weekend of the festival are called the "Tilcareñazo" while the nights of the second weekend are known as the "Jujeñazo." The first weekend features local artists, saving the singers and bands of national renown for the second weekend, the Jujeñazo.
Festival del Huancar. On the road to the town of Abra Pampa in western Jujuy lies the Cerro Huancar, a sandy hill with interesting acoustic properties. According to legend, this is where a ballad singer sold his soul to the devil in exchange for amazing musical abilities so he could impress girls during the carnival in February. This legend and the excellent acoustics at the base of the hill gave birth to the annual Huancar song festival.
Jornadas de Sol y Luna. This week-long festival in Santa Catalina consists of sporting and social events during the day, with folklore festivals during the night.
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