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IMPULSE TRAVEL TEAM

We are a team of storytellers here to bring you the best Colombia has to offer. On our blog, we answer your most frequent questions and uncover our countries mysteries, culture, and highlights for you.

Colombia’s culture is about rhythm, joy, colors, and traditions - this is manifested in the endless list of fairs, festivals, and carnivals. Most towns have their own festivities; ranging from those celebrating coffee to the ones held in honor of the town's saint. The characteristics most festivals have in common is the nomination of a beauty queen and the setting up of a public dance floor. Learn about the top 10 national fiestas and ferias in Colombia - check your travel dates and destinations and, if you're lucky, don't miss the opportunity to be part of the festival!



 

Table of contents
 

January
Carnaval de Negros y Blancos
February
Carnival of Barranquilla
April
Semana Santa in Santa Cruz de Mompox
Festival de la Leyenda Vallenata
August
Feria de las Flores
Festival Nacional Autóctono de Gaitas
Festival de Música del Pacífico Petronio Álvarez
December
Feria de Cali
Festival de Luces


 

January



image source: https://eliturs.com/carnaval-de-negros-y-blancos-narino/

Carnaval de Negros y Blancos 

The Carnaval de Negros y Blancos (Carnival of Whites and Blacks) is the 2nd largest carnival in Colombia. It is celebrated in Pasto from January 2nd to the 7th every year. The last two days of the carnival are the most important - one is “the day of the blacks” and the other “the day of the whites”. Everybody, unrelated to their ethnicity, dresses in black on the first day and in white on the second, to symbolize equality and unite all citizens in a common celebration of ethnic and cultural difference. Since 2009, the carnival has been part of the list of the Cultural Patrimony of Humanity by UNESCO. 








Feria de Manizales

The Feria de Manizales lasts from the 3rd to 12th of January and is one of the most important tourism events in Colombia. It is held every year since 1951 in Manizales,  which is also known as,  "the city of open doors", and has been declared part of the nation's cultural heritage. During this event, there are bullfights, art exhibitions, parades, orchestral performances, and the International Coffee Pageant, which is a beauty contest. This traditional fair has Spanish roots and inherited several customs that were mixed with Colombian traditions, especially from the Andean region.


 

February



Carnival of Barranquilla

Barranquilla's Carnival is the 2nd largest carnival in the world, right after the carnival of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It starts on Saturday before Ash Wednesday and lasts for 4 days. The most symbolic of all the celebrations is the Battle of Flowers on the first day. This is a parade of floats, troupes, dance groups and costumes which are chaired by the queen. She arrives in her carriage, while she is dancing and throwing flowers to the spectators. On the 4th day, the carnival comes to an end with the death of Joselito Carnaval; he is the most representative character for being a symbol of joy and celebration. In 2003, UNESCO declared it one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.


 

April


image source: https://noticias.calendariodecolombia.com/eventos/programacion-semana-santa-en-mompox-2017 


Semana Santa in Santa Cruz de Mompox

Every year the people of Mompox celebrate the Holy Week (“Semana Santa”). This religious event is one of the largest and most traditional manifestations of the Catholic faith in the country. Since 1564 it is held to remember the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The parades are full of pious acts and popular religiosity inherited from the Spanish colonization, but over time they added native elements to the tradition. The inhabitants make delicate carpets with motifs referring to the Passion of Christ. In 1995, UNESCO awarded Mompox as the Historical and Cultural Heritage of Humanity.






Festival de la Leyenda Vallenata

The Festival de la Leyenda Vallenata (Vallenato Legend Festival) is one of the most important music festivals in Colombia. It is celebrated every year in April in Valledupar. The festival was founded in 1968 by three people: the former Minister of Culture Consuelo Araújo, the former president of the republic Alfonso López Michelsen and the vallenato composer Rafael Escalona. They came up with the idea of organizing a festival that celebrated vallenato - the genre that was invented in Valledupar in Colombia. The name has his origin from this city. The most important event during the festival is the competition to find the best accordionist of the year and to select the Vallenato King among hundreds of participants from all over the country.


 

August


Foto credit: Medellín Bureau


Feria de las Flores

The Feria de las Flores (Flowers Festival) takes place in Medellín and is the largest outdoor flower show in the world. It is held every year at the beginning of August. This celebration was born in 1957 and is now the most important social event for the city. It includes a pageant, an oldtimer automobiles show many musical concerts and a horse parade. It is the opportunity for the "City of Eternal Spring and World Capital of Orchids" to show the world the character, value, and roots of the culture through the color and smell of the beautiful flowers. The fair lasts 10 days and it embodies all the values of the Antioquia people. Another central part is the parade of silleteros. The local farmers produce arrangements of flowers and carry them on their backs in silletas.






image source: https://www.colombia.com/turismo/ferias-y-fiestas/festival-autoctono-de-gaitas/historia/ 


Festival Nacional Autóctono de Gaitas

Every year in August, Gaitas-groups from different regions of the country and dance couples, among other artists, gather to participate in the Autonomous Gaita Festival of San Jacinto. Gaita is a typical Colombian instrument, which can be compared to a big flute. The festival brings together the greatest exponents and performers of this traditional instrument of Colombian Caribbean Folklore. This festival arises in the spirit of preserving and rescuing the cultural and musical traditions of this municipality.





Festival de Música del Pacífico Petronio Álvarez

The Festival de Música del Pacífico Petronio Álvarez (Festival of Music of the Pacific Petronio Álvarez) is dedicated to the music of Colombian Pacific Region folklore. It takes place in the city of Santiago de Cali in August. It seeks to highlight composers, musical groups and researchers of Afro-Colombian music. 



 

December


image source: http://caracol.com.co/radio/2017/12/12/comercial/1513089728_125883.html 


Feria de Cali

The Feria de Cali is held from the 25th to the 30th of December and is the most important cultural event in Cali. It is a celebration of the region's cultural identity, famous for the Salsa marathon, horse riding parades, and dance parties. The Fair has been celebrated since 1957 and it promotes cultural, ethnic, and musical diversity in the region. Cali is also known as the "Capital de la Salsa” given the city’s infatuation with this traditional music genre. This festival unveils the most colorful shows of salsa and international dancers with hundreds of dancers of international stature, who have been prepared throughout the year.





Festival de Luces

The Festival de Luces (Festival of lights) takes place in Villa de Leyva, where the streets are filled with lights that illuminate the nights of the 7th and 8th of December. In Colombia, the celebration of the day of the 'candles' is perhaps the most important for the Colombian culture during the Christmas season. The celebrations begin early - the inhabitants decorate balconies, sidewalks, and terraces with lanterns and candles to celebrate the tradition of candles and lanterns. On the following day, companies present a unique firework show competing for the best score according to the luminosity, height, opening, sound, and duration. If you want to learn more about Colombian Christmas traditions you can check our blog post on this.



 

Colombians have the reputation to be festive and cheerful, and this is true since the amount of fairs and festivals in Colombia is huge. Every festival and carnival is unique and some of them have a century-long history. The festivities are a combination of various cultural events including masquerades, dances, and parades, among others. If your travel dates match, or if you're planning your visit to this festive country, don't miss out on living a local and vibrant experience in one of these Ferias and Fiestas.






sources: 
https://www.colombia.com/turismo/ferias-y-fiestas/feria-de-manizales/ 
https://ich.unesco.org/es/RL/el-carnaval-de-negros-y-blancos-00287 
http://www.colombia.travel/es/ferias-y-fiestas/feria-de-manizales 
http://www.colombia.co/visita-colombia/vive-la-feria-de-manizales/ 
http://www.colombia.travel/es/que-hacer/caribe/barranquilla/experiencias/carnaval-de-barranquilla 
http://mompoxcolombia.blogspot.com/p/blog-page.html 
https://www.elheraldo.co/rdrssdfasd

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