Carnivals and Festivals

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  • The Carnival of Fantasy, Barranquilla Carnival, Atlántico

    Barranquilla Carnival

    Celebrated every year in February, the Barranquilla Carnival is the main folkloric and cultural festival in Colombia. UNESCO declared it a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

    It is a multicultural event recreating the folkloric manifestations of the mix of indigenous and African cultures. The musical instruments, the popular dances, masks and typical costumes allow these manifestations expressing regional identity to endure.

    The Carnival begins four days before Ash Wednesday. On Tuesday, in ritual style, happiness, as represented by Joselito Carnaval, is symbolically buried and a party is held to say goodbye.

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    Carnival of Blacks and Whites, Pasto, Nariño.

    Carnival of Blacks and Whites

    Every year, from January 3rd to 6th, the Carnival of Blacks and Whites is held in Pasto (Nariño). Its origin is linked to ancient indigenous celebrations in honor of the Moon taking care of crops. The popular parades of colorful and enormous wood sculptures recreate the fusion of indigenous, Spanish and African cultural expressions that exist in the region as well as reflect the participation and teaching of children and adults in handcraft and traditional activities.

    The Carnival is divided into four phases. In the last two, the faces painted black or white symbolize a message of social inclusion and equality.

    This Carnival was declared a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

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    Devil Carnival, Riosucio, Caldas

    Devil Carnival

    This celebration takes place every two years around January 6 in Riosucio, (Caldas). It is structured as an extensive dramatic poem written collectively by the more mystical carnival participants.

    The origin and sense of this carnival are the fusion of African dances and singing with Spanish sacred theater and European choreographies. The carnival does not affect religiosity; the devil represents the spirit of this fusion of cultures, it is the inspiring spirit of musicians, dancers and writers as well as the symbolic custodian of a celebration for peace.

    It is a Unesco Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanityj.

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    Feria de Cali (Cali Fair), Valle del Cauca - Corfecali

    Cali Fair

    The Cali Fair is celebrated every year from December 25 to 30. This event shows off the salsa identity of the city. The salsódromo (salsadrome), the inaugural act of the Fair with thousands of people attending, is the largest parade of salsa in the world exhibiting the talents of dancers and the schools. The event lasts about five hours and covers a distance of one km.

     

    At the fair the participants see the best salsa dancers, dance with the orchestras, and enjoy the bullfights and many other events.

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    Flowers Fair - Corfecali

    Flowers Fair

    This fair has been held ervery year since 1957, from August 3 to 12, in Medellín.

    The fair attracts many people with its parade of horses and vintage cars, flower exhibits, contests, popular music, antiquities fair and the traditional caravan of “chivas" (colorful open-air buses).

    But the central event is the "silleteros" (flower bearers) parade. Here, the people from the rural settlement of Santa Elena (Antioquia) carry on their backs frames of flower arrangements displaying the cultural iconography of the region and the spirit of Antioquia.

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    Feria de manizales - SOS 1992

    Manizales Fair

    The Manizales Fair has been held every year for fifty years between January 4 and 11.

    Because the Fair is inspired by the Sevilla Fair, it has the imprint of the Spanish bull-fight culture. In the beginning, the bullfights and the parade of women dressed in Sevilla costumes were the most important events. Nevertheless, today the International Coffee Pageant has acquired an important role. Thanks to this pageant, many other cultural manifestations have developed within the framework of the fair including parades, exhibits and concerts.

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    History lives at the Book Fair - Colombia Travel

    International Book Fair

    Since 1998, people from all around the world and of all ages have attended the Bogotá International Book Fair, one of the most important academic and cultural events in Latin America for the promotion of reading and of the publishing industry.

    Its impact is due in great part to the participation of editors and national and international publishing houses, as well as its cultural events, art exhibits and its workshops, conferences and seminars related to reading, writing or publishing.

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    National Song Festival and International Joropo Tournament - Colombia Travel

    National Song Festival and International Joropo Tournament

    Since 1969, in June and July, the National Festival of Song and International Joropo Tournament is held every year in Villavicencio.

    Here music from the Llanos region and expert Joropo dancers from Colombia and Venezuela perform. Everyone here exhibit displays of dancing to the romantic songs interpreted by children, youth and adults.

    Thousands of people come together at this event. The festival recovers the Llanero oral tradition, costumes, gastronomy and artistic and cultural expressions.

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    Festival of the Vallenato Legend - Proexport

    Festival of the Vallenato Legend

    This Festival is held every year since 1968, from April 26 to April 30, in Valledupar, (Cesar).

    Vallenato is a typical and popular musical genre in Colombia. This Festival maintains the cultural elements constituting the identity of the Caribbean coast; the emotive songs constantly highlight language, ancestral traditions, costumes, figures and emblematic sites.

    The impact of the festival is such that now Vallenato musicians from other countries participate. In addition to the four Vallenato contests, there is also a representation of the Legend of the Miracle, which narrates how the indigenous persons of the region converted to Catholicism after “discovering the power of God”.

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    International Music Festival - Yomaira Grandett / El Tiempo

    International Music Festival

    The Cartagena Music Festival was inaugurated in 2007 and has since become one of the most important settings to enjoy classical music as well as train young musicians in Colombia.

    As such, the Festival brings together concert performers and renowned national and international orchestras to interact with the public.

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    Petronio Álvarez Pacific Music Festival - Diana Marcel González Rojas

    Petronio Álvarez Pacific Music Festival

    Since 1997 the Petronio Álvarez Pacific Music Festival has been held annually in August in Cali, Valle del Cauca.

    This event honors the interpreters of sones, milongas, bambucos and currulaos as well as the music and traditions of the Afro-descendants of the Pacific region. The Festival promotes the recovery of regional rhythms and the strengthening of the identity of the regions inhabitants.

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    Do you know who you are?, Concert, Mono Núñez Festival, Ginebra, Valle del Cauca -Colombia Travel

    Mono Núñez Festival

    Since 1975 the Mono Núñez Festival is held in July in Ginebra (Valle del Cauca).

    This event, which bears the name of the bandola player Benigno Núñez, affectionately known as Mono Núñez, brings together the most outstanding interpreters of Colombian Andes music.

    Those attending the Festival can listen to the most traditional versions of bambucos, pasillos and guabinas (native musical genres) as well as experimental interpretations that seek to renovate them.

    In 2003 the event was declared a National Cultural Heritage.

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    12th International Theater Festival, Bogotá - Cortesía Proexport

    Bogotá Ibero-American Theater Festival

    Since 1988 the Ibero-American Theater Festival, held every two years in Bogotá, has become the most important theater setting in Latin America. Here theater groups from all over the world perform while conferences and specialized workshops given by great masters take place.

    The Festival lasts over two weeks, bringing together thousands of spectators in theaters and open air settings. The inauguration and closing event of each edition are magnificent popular events which turn Bogotá into a party and cause great impact among the attending public.

     

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    Cartagena International Film Festival, 2012 - Manuel Pedraza/ El Tiempo

    Cartagena International Film Festival

    Since 1960, the Cartagena Film Festival is held for one week during February and March.

    This film event awards the India Catalina Statue to the best in Ibero-American cinema. Its mission is to offer a setting for Latin American cultural and audiovisual diversity. It includes a highly-recognized jury and special guests including world renowned film makers, actors and critics.

    The Festival exhibits international audiovisual works, films, short films and videos; it also acknowledges national film and television productions.

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    Folkloric Festival and National Bambuco Pageant - Colombia Travel

    Folkloric Festival and National Bambuco Pageant

    The Folkloric Festival and National Bambuco Pageant is held every year in June and July in Neiva (Huila).

    Its origin is the former celebration that the inhabitants of San Juan and San Pedro gave to show obedience and respect to the King of Spain. Over time, both traditions came together to become the celebrations of today. The cultural elements can be seen in the regional dances (pasillo, bambuco and sanjuanero huilense) as well as the Bambuco National Pageant with its very attractive aquatic and folkloric parades.

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    Hay Festival - Oscar Agredo

    Hay Festival

    The Hay Festival is one of the most important cultural events in Latin America. It is held every year in January and February in Cartagena. Recognized plastic artists, musicians and renowned intellectuals participate in the Festival. The programming covers literature, cinema, visual arts, music, journalism, politics and the environment.

    The events of the Hay Festival are held in halls as well as public sites. For those attending, the Hay Festival is a unique opportunity to approach important cultural figures.

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