The following 7 days different Latin American nations celebrate Semana Santa while Uruguay looks forward to the Semana de Turismo having events all over the country. In Montevideo, gauchos compete on horse back in the course of Semana Criolla. Riders, known as jinetes, ride wild horses.
The horseback tournament is without a doubt the most significant attraction at the Semana Criolla. Riders contend in three different categories a pelo [bareback], a basto [saddle] and a basto argentino [a mimimalist saddle]. The goal is to remain on a wild equine for 12 seconds (or 10 seconds, if bareback) as the horse bucks and runs and attempts to throw the participant. Jinetes [the riders] are evaluated in relation to the quality of the ride– my personal perception is the wilder the better. Sometimes, the horses roll on their backs in trying to dismount the rider. Over fifty percent from the riders I have seen have been thrown before the time limit.
Aside from the popular music and horse contests, Semana Criolla at Parque Prado offers folk dancing and much shopping. It is a good spot to purchase everything gaucho: knives, boots, hats, or ponchos.
La Semana Criolla is Montevideo’s principal attraction for the duration of Semana de Turismo. It includes rodeo activities through the day as well as music at night.