Customs and traditions
Uruguay has strong social and cultural roots
in Europe, although, as in neighboring countries, there
is a cultural heritage with African influences as well.
Tangon has a central place, as well as the long carnival
festivities that last for 40 days. Football is national
sports and something of a national obsession.
Family life is important and you are happy to leave
on Sundays for a meal with the extended family. It is
relatively common for adult children to stay at home
high up in their ages.
Uruguayans like to be polite and sincere, but quite
direct. You stand close to the person you are talking to
and look your partner in the eyes. Otherwise, one may be
perceived as uninterested or dishonest. Greetings are
usually done with a handshake, sometimes you also touch
his or her partner's arm or shoulder. Friends can
embrace each other and greet with a cheek kiss.
Overview of the capital city of Uruguay, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.
Politics is a popular topic of conversation and
guests are welcome to ask questions about Uruguay. The
national feeling is strong - it is important not to
confuse Uruguayans with Paraguayans or Argentinians.
You should avoid pointing, if you want to indicate
something or someone it is more appropriate to do so
with a head gesture. Thumbs up or down are used much
like in Sweden. An ironing with your fingers or the top
of your hand under your chin means you don't know, or
The clothing style is western and often quite
conservative. Tinted colors apply at least in a business
context. In the countryside there are some who dress in
a style influenced by the gaucho culture.
Like many other Latin Americans, Uruguayans often
relate less accurately to time than a Swede is used to.
Anyone who is invited to dinner at 9pm does not
necessarily arrive much before 10pm. For business
meetings, it is a good idea to be on time, but set to
Guests can bring chocolate, flowers, preferably
roses, or a bottle of wine or whiskey. A wrapped package
should be neat and likely to open at once.
The Uruguayans are among the largest carnivores in
the world. Beef and lamb are the most common varieties.
Asado and parrillada are terms that
include both barbecue events, ways to grill and even
barbecue dishes. Sometimes a grill plate is served with
meat, sausage and oatmeal. Chivito is a popular
sandwich with steak meat and accessories. Fainá
is a kind of pancake made on chickpea flour. As for the
rest of the kitchen, the Italian heritage is
reminiscent: pasta and pizza are common elements. Sweet
condensed milk - dulce de leche- is a popular
feature of desserts.
In Uruguay, wine is also produced. A common beverage
is mate which is a caffeine-containing tea-like
drink. You like to drink it from a gourd, with a metal
straw called bombilla. It is common for
Uruguayans to carry a thermos of hot water to brew some
food at any time.
The most important national holidays are
Constitutional Day on July 18 and Independence Day on
August 25. It celebrates the signing of the first
constitution in 1830 and the proclamation of
independence in 1825.
Other historical events worth noting are the arrival
of the 33 Patriots (April 19, in memory of freedom
fighters who returned from Argentina in 1825), the
Battle of Las Piedras (May 18, a commemoration of the
Spanish in 1811) and José Artiga's birthday (19 June,
see Older history).
Columbus's arrival in America is celebrated on
October 12, but it has become increasingly controversial
throughout the Western Hemisphere, due to the
devastating impact of European colonization on the
indigenous population. Since 2014, the holiday is called
the Day of Cultural Diversity (Día de la Diversidad
Cultural) in Uruguay, in an effort to make it more
Christian holidays like Christmas and Easter are
celebrated, although the Uruguayans are quite
secularized - Christmas Day is often called "family day"
and Easter week is called "tourism week". In addition to
Christmas Day, Thirteen Day is also a public holiday.
New Year's Day and May 1 are also holidays in