October 6, 2021, 12:13 pm
There is always a great festival happening every month in Colombia. Thanks to the vast diversity of traditions in each region, there are many festivals to celebrate heritage, music genres, traditional dances and even the production of flowers and coffee. If you plan a trip to Colombia and wish to include one of these festivals on your tour, check this article to learn about some of the most popular and well-known Colombian festivals.
1. Barranquilla Carnival
The Carnival of Barranquilla is not only the second-largest carnival celebration in the world after the one in Rio de Janeiro. It is also the most prominent public and street celebration in Colombia. The Carnival offers a repertory of dances and musical expressions originating from the blend of various local traditions. Groups of masqueraded dancers, actors, singers and instrumentalists delight crowds with theatrical and musical performances based on historical as well as current events.
While Carnival is celebrated officially for only four days at the beginning of February, the pre-Carnival season formally begins in mid-January, and even before then, you will see the city coming alive with Carnival themed decorations, music, and more.
Some of the most popular pre-Carnival events include smaller parades such as la Guacherna and el Garabato. These parades happen in smaller areas of the city, and they give you a glimpse of a few popular dances and snippets of traditional Carnival music.
The purpose of any pre-Carnival event is to get you excited for the actual Carnival celebration. So, enjoy as many as you can take! Once you've had your fill of pre-Carnival events, you should make sure you get tickets to official Carnival events, whether it is the parades, concerts, or other events around the city.
Click here to see more details about this carnival.
2. The Flowers Festival
The Feria de las Flores (the Flower Festival) is another incredible festival in Colombia that takes place in Medellín, Antioquía. This festival happens every year during the first two weeks of August and lasts around 10 days.
Perhaps the most famous part of this festival is a parade called "El Defile de los Silleteros." This parade gives silleteros (people who cultivate flowers and create beautiful artwork out of flowers to carry on their backs) a chance to display their amazing work to the public. There is also a flower exhibition at the Botanical Gardens in Medellín where you will find both outrageously gorgeous and crazy strange flowers on display.
In addition to events centred around flowers, there are many other types of events taking place as part of the festival, such as shows featuring typical dances and traditional foods, among other things.
Click here to see more details about this festival.
3. Blacks and Whites' Carnival
Blacks and Whites' Carnival is the largest carnival celebration in southern Colombia and one of the oldest festivals, showcasing a cultural exhibit of different races in South America. The carnival happens in the city of Pasto from the 2nd to 7th January of each year.
The festival originates during Spanish rule, when slaves were allowed to celebrate on January 5 and their masters joined them in their festivities by painting their faces black. On the following day, the slaves painted their faces white. Today, the Carnival of Blacks and Whites is a two-day wild extravaganza when people smear each other in black and white colours.
The preparation for the Carnival of Blacks and Whites begins well in advance. Pre carnival starts with the Day of Water, when people of all ages come out on the streets and playfully celebrate this day by getting drenched with water. Following this, the little carnival (El Carnavalito) begins when the kids showcase their creativity and culture.
4. The Cali Fair
The Cali Fair (Feria de Cali) is a massive year-end celebration held in Santiago de Cali, Colombia. The first Cali Fair took place in 1957, and it has been held with no interruption since then. The Fair was originally set as a traditional Spanish bullfighting celebration that also included a horse parade, ballroom dancing, and a beauty pageant. However, since the 1980s the Cali Fair has progressively adopted the form of a street carnival that focuses on a celebration of salsa music and dance.
The celebration includes public concerts and private presentations of the most outstanding world salseros, stars of the salsa music scene. The Cali Fair usually starts on December 25th and ends on the 30th, although the bullfighting activities extend to January 6th.
5. The Manizales Fair
The Manizalez Fair (Feria de Manizales) is known for its bullfighting season, concerts, exhibitions, parades and the international Coffee Pageant. This fair has Spanish roots and is inspired by the April Fair of Seville in Spain, taking many of their customs, but also with many customs of Colombia's coffee region. The fair begins on January 3 and ends on January 12.
If you wish to come to one of these incredible Colombian festivals, please get in touch with us to create a tailor-made Colombia tour for you based on the number of days you want to spend on the festival and the other regions of Colombia you would like to visit.
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