Popular festivals are part of the intangible heritage of a community, and a tourist product that reflects the culture and the tradition of the different regions, in which all the cultural expressions are included as a reminder of events, rituals and customs.
They represent the expressions of memory and collective life, essential for the creation of social bonds and the definition of identity.
This means that collective works are orally transmitted, which is why they tend to change as time passes by, by means of a communal recreational process.
Given its ephemeral nature, this heritage is highly vulnerable. Therefore, popular festivals are a tourist attraction that requires a special consideration for its development.
Fiesta Pehuén Provincial Festival in Aluminé
In this sense, it is advisable to bear in mind that the community that creates them compromises not only an economic interest, but also its own existence, inviting tourists to join them in the moment of the greatest expression of their identity.
It is difficult to specify the origin of these celebrations. Generally when an event generates great satisfaction, festivals are organized to express these positive emotions joyfully. The development of this type of events contributes to the preservation and validation of the local identity, the folklore, and the historical and artistic resources of a community, and the relationship of people with this community. As regards their benefits, popular festivals contribute to the economical growth and the social development and promotion of the regions, involving most of the times, a significant impact on local communities.
In the towns of Neuquén province popular festivals develop successfully and gather significant numbers of people.
San Sebastián festival in Las Ovejas, photo by Gabriel Bravo.
The total amount of festivals identified in the province is 71, and the greatest number of events is concentrated in the tourist areas Patagonia of Valleys and Volcanoes (34%) and Steppe of Dinosaurs.
As regards the spreading of these events throughout the year, they mostly concentrate on the months of January, February and March.
The clothes, the handicrafts, the dances, and the food are represented in a festival, and they constitute the greatest expression of the way of thinking and feeling of a town and its people; Neuquén offers festivals and events throughout the year and in the whole province.
Festivals of tourist interest in Neuquén
This is a mention given to festivals and events celebrated in a certain place that are of great interest for tourists.
Festivals of national tourist interest in Neuquén:
- Highlander’s National Festival – San Martín de los Andes.
- Andean Christmas National Festival – San Martín de los Andes.
- National Festival of the Trout – Junín de los Andes (declared by resolution S.S.T. Nº 7 – 11th November 1982)
- Kid, Dance and Song National Festival – Chos Malal (declared by resolution S.T. Nº 859 13th August 2004).
Festivals of provincial tourist interest:
- Livestock Tender Provincial Festival – Junín de los Andes.
- Ñaco Provincial Festival – El Cholar.
- Livestock Grazing Land and Producers Festival in the North of Neuquén – Andacollo.
- Gardens Provincial Festival – Villa La Angostura.
- Pehuén Provincial Festival – Aluminé.
- Grass Provincial Festival – Las Lajas.
- Tradition Provincial Festival – Zapala.
- Handicrafts Provincial Festival – Zapala.
- Corncob and Sweet Tamale Provincial Festival – El Sauce.