Cultural Wealth of Colombia: 10 Examples of Traditions

The Cultural wealth of Colombia Is represented by some of the important cultural traditions and events, such as the Barranquilla carnival, Easter, carnabal, the night of the candles, the Silleteros Parade and other festivals.

Colombia is a melting pot of cultures that have been mixing and decanting over time. To the indigenous population that already inhabited these lands with their ancestral legacy, the Spaniards who conquered the region joined the sixteenth century and imposed their language, religion and customs.

Cultural wealth of Colombia

The Iberian conquerors brought the negroes behind them, as slaves, who also brought a rich collection. All these ethnic groups have left their imprint in the country that today is known as Colombia.

Sometimes the influence of some of them can be clearly identified in certain manifestations, depending especially on the region, but at other times a true amalgam can be seen resulting in original and unique expressions in the world.

Colombia has experienced a rapid economic, political and social development in the last decades that has also left a mark on the cultural world and has influenced with new contributions from the South American nation.

List of the 10 most important cultural traditions or events in Colombia

1- Carnival of Barranquilla

It is without a doubt the most important carnival festival in Colombia and one of the most important in Latin America. It is celebrated since the mid-nineteenth century and is one of the most sophisticated expressions of cultural syncretism that we can find in the country.

The first record of the reading of the Carnival Band, activity that is celebrated every January 20, San Sebastián Day, dates from 1865, although there are testimonies that indicate that the carnival was already celebrated since before.

The city of Barranquilla, located on the Caribbean coast and capital of the Department of Atlántico, turns to the street with music, dancing, floats, costumes and parades for five days - from Saturday before Ash Wednesday to Tuesday. , Under the baton of Rey Momo And the Queen of Carnival.

It is estimated that about one million Barranquilleros and visitors from other parts of the country and abroad participate in the celebration.

These celebrations were declared Cultural Patrimony of the Nation by the National Congress in 2001 and Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by Unesco in 2003.

2- Ibero-American Theater Festival of Bogotá

Cultural Wealth of Colombia: 10 Examples of Traditions

It is one of the most important theatrical encounters in Latin America, which brings together groups from around the world every two years.

It was created in 1988 by Fanny Mikey , An actress, director and theater entrepreneur colombo-argentina, and Ramiro Osorio , A prominent Colombian cultural promoter, who was the country's first Minister of Culture.

Since then, and until 2016, fifteen editions of this theatrical festival have been held, not only filling the halls of the Colombian capital, but also stirring Bogota's streets, squares and parks with free activities that allow children and adults to participate On a massive scale.

Depending on the edition, during the 17 days of the festival, which usually takes place between March and April, dozens of groups of between 21 and 45 nations participate, as well as hundreds of artists.

In addition to the most diverse theatrical proposals, you can also see other manifestations of the performing arts such as dance, circus, pantomime, as well as musical concerts, workshops and conferences.

3- Festival of the Legend Vallenata, in Valledupar

The Festival of Leyenda Vallenata is celebrated annually from 1968, between April and May, in Valledupar, capital of the Department of Cesar, in northeastern Colombia. The purpose is to celebrate one of the most popular musical genres in the country today.

Vallenateros interpreters and composers meet to compete in different categories, at a party that summons thousands of followers for five days.

The vallenata music originates in the region formed by the north of the Department of Cesar, south of La Guajira and east of Magdalena and has a long presence throughout the Colombian Caribbean coast.

It is a clear example of mixing the different cultural influences that coexist in the country, since it includes for its interpretation European instruments like the accordion, the indigenous guacharaca and the vallenata box, a drum of African origin. In addition, the composition of the letters has Spanish influence.

The vallenato has been declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Nation and Humanity by the Ministry of Culture and Unesco in 2012 and 2015, respectively.

4- Holy Week of Popayán

Cultural Wealth of Colombia: 10 Examples of Traditions 1

The Catholic faith is the majority in Colombia and finds in the city of Popayán, capital of the Department of Cauca, in the southwest of the country, one of its oldest, authentic and popular expressions.

The Holy Week processions of this city have been celebrated year after year since the XVI century and they call thousands of faithful not only of the region but of all Colombia.

Carved wooden religious images from various art schools in Europe, America and the city itself are carried by the parishioners on platforms profusely adorned with candles and flowers, depicting the episodes narrated by the Gospels.

The procession runs at night, from Tuesday to Saturday, a layout in the form of a Latin cross on the streets payan with the company of believers who pray in their path. This religious festival was declared Cultural Patrimony of the Nation in 2004 and is inscribed in the representative list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of Unesco since 2009.

5- Parade of Silleteros, in Medellín

The Parade of Silleteros is one of the most popular activities that take place during the first days of August in the framework of the Fair of Flowers in the city of Medellin, capital of the Department of Antioquia.

The peasants of the district of Santa Helena prepare thousands of flowers of different kinds, allusive to landscapes, monuments, characters and messages, with great ingenuity and originality.

They also parade through the streets and avenues of the city carrying them behind them in silletas - hence the name of the activity - in the presence of crowds who admire and cheer these creations.

The silleteros pass the tradition from generation to generation and have made presentations in other cities of Colombia and abroad.

The party has been held continuously since 1957 and was declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Nation in 2015.

6- The novenas of aguinaldos

It is a Catholic Christmas tradition deeply rooted in Colombia and also widely celebrated in Ecuador. It is very similar to the Posadas that take place in Mexico and Central America.

During the nine days prior to Christmas Eve, Colombians who profess this faith gather in their homes, places of work, places, social centers, churches and even shopping centers, to pray and sing Christmas bonuses and carols.

This repertoire accompanies it with snacks typical of the Christmas holidays. It is a way of evoking the nine months of gestation of the Virgin Mary.

The tradition began with the Franciscan priest Fray Fernando de Jesús Larrea (Quito, 1700 - Santiago de Cali, 1773), who wrote these prayers in the middle of the eighteenth century, which were first published in 1784 by the Imprenta Real de Santafé in Bogotá at the request of Clemencia de Jesus Caycedo, founder Of the school The Teaching, of that city.

A century later, Mother Mary Ignacia made some changes and added the joys (songs), as they are known today. They say that because of this tradition Colombian Christmas is the longest in the world.

7- Carnival of Blacks and Whites, in Pasto

Although it is called with the word carnival, these festivals, the most important of southwestern Colombia, are celebrated between January 2 and 7, mainly in the city of Pasto, capital of the Department of Nariño, as well as in the surrounding municipalities .

It is a festival that originates in the 16th century, where traditions of the Creole population of the Andes, the Colombian Pacific black culture and the indigenous native population are united.

The dates correspond to the veneration of the Moon by the indigenous population that inhabited these lands. Every day of the carnival is different:

On January 2, the Parade of the Colonies takes place, where the pastoralists and people of other peoples show their traditions; January 3, is the turn of Carnavalito, dedicated to children and January 4, the Arrival of the Castañeda Family, which caricature the reception to a foreign family group.

On January 5, it is the Day of the Negroes, which commemorates the annual day that the slaves had free and, on January 6, the Day of the Whites, when the Great Parade takes place.

Finally, on January 7, is called Day of Remate, which concludes the holidays. The Carnival of Blacks and Whites was declared in 2001 Cultural Heritage of the Nation and in 2009 Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by Unesco.

8- Night of the candles

Cultural Wealth of Colombia: 10 Examples of Traditions 2

It is the feast celebrating the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, a dogma proclaimed by the Pope Pío IX In his label Ineffabilis Deus In 1854.

On the night of December 7, candles, lanterns or other lighting on the windows and doors of houses, in streets, squares, shopping malls and emblematic buildings are lit in all towns and cities of Colombia, resulting in A great show of light that gives start to the Christmas holidays.

This popular celebration is especially enjoyed by the children who participate with joy and joy in the lighting of the candles and by families who move to streets and squares to contemplate the spectacle.

Each city commemorates with special characteristics this date. For example, in Bogotá, there is a show of lights in the Colpatria tower , One of the highest in the city.

In Bucaramanga, the day ends with a cultural show in the municipal park, while in Santa Marta, the party starts at 3 am on December 8 and coincides with the city's birthday, which is celebrated with processions and games Pyrotechnics.

9- Folk Festival and National Reign of Bambuco, in Neiva

It is the party that represents the Department of Huila, in the southwest of Colombia, and takes place in the capital, Neiva, between mid-June and the first week of July.

Its origins date back to the end of the 18th century. First they were celebrated in honor of Saint John Baptist And then he also joined San Pedro .

The festival was officialized in the mid 50's and includes various activities ranging from horseback riding with horses beautifully decorated and mounted by men, women and children to parades with illuminated floats and canoes, accompanied by bands and bands.

There are also musical and dance competitions and competitions where one of the main musical genres and Colombian dancers such as bambuco are played and danced, as well as other dances and music such as the sanjuanero huilense and rajaleñas, among others.

One of the most anticipated events is the election of the Bambuco National Queen with candidates representing all the departments of the country. It is an occasion to try the typical Huilense asado accompanied by chicha, guarapo, sweets and aguardiente. In 2006 it was declared Cultural Patrimony of the Nation.

10- Fair of Cali

Cultural Wealth of Colombia: 10 Examples of Traditions 3

It is also known as the Cane Fair and is celebrated in Cali, capital of the Department of Valle del Cauca since 1957, between December 25 and 30.

The capital of Vallecaucana is recognized as the World Capital of the Salsa and for that reason, the show with which the parties open is the parade of the Salsódromo, where more than a thousand dancers of the best salsa schools of the city present their accompanied choreographies Of important orchestras.

Another great act is the Superconcierto that takes place in the Olympic Stadium Pascual Guerrero, with the participation of famous national and foreign artists of diverse musical genres like salsa, pop and reggaeton, among others.

Finally, one of the main events of the Fair of Cali is the bullfighting season that takes place in the Plaza de Toros de Cañaveralejo.


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