Happy New Year!

Yes, it’s March. And if you live in Uruguay (or in Argentina, Brazil or Chile, actually), you will know what I mean. The year starts in March, there’s no question about it.

You don’t agree? Let me explain.

December: schools finish in mid December, it’s very hot, and then there’s Christmas and New Year. So far, so good. We all deserve a break.

January: there’s Epiphany on the 6th, so you can’t really quite get started until after then. Epiphany is BIG here with the Three Wise Men and all that.

But then, it’s summer. And school holidays. So you can’t really start the year in January. 40 degrees, I mean, even with air-con… impossible. You go to a public office and half the staff are off on their summer holidays. The other half are over-worked or over-heated and can’t be bothered. Private businesses? Well, you get the finance director on holiday and the operations director is holding the fort, but you can’t get many decisions made. Not the right time for a market visit, I tell you, unless you’re into tourism or air-conditioning.

Meeting? What meeting? Relaxing by the River Plate...

Meeting? What meeting? Relaxing by the River Plate…

February: this is revenge-time for the ones that didn’t take holidays in January. So things start feeling a little bit more normal but not quite there yet. But then there’s the end of February (in some countries this is early to mid February), the “oh, crumbs!” (to put it nicely) moment when a) you realise summer is nearly over 2) you have no annual leave left 3) your kids are still on holiday and 4) the kids are going back to school and you need to buy an impossible amount of “stuff” for the “vuelta a clases” (back to school)

Some of us don't quite get the hang of it and we still work in January...

Some of us don’t quite get the hang of it and we still work in January…

And to add to it, there’s Carnival. February means water bombs and colourful masks and it wouldn’t be too productive to get the year started now.

But, hang on, this year Carnival falls neatly at the start of March. Which means that this Monday and Tuesday (3rd and 4th) a lot of people will be on holiday here in Uruguay. And kids won’t go back to school right at the start of March: the Uruguayan authorities have decreed that 10th March is the start of the school year across the country. So that’s official: the year starts on March 10th… get it now?…

… and when did you say Easter falls this year?…

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