Cultural Calendar

 

January 3 - 6 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 existed in the region as well as reflect the participation and teaching of children and adults in artisanal 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.

Photo: Proexport

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January 4 - 11 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.

Photo: Sos1992

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January * Carnival of the Devil

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 trumpets pacification.

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

Photo: Sandra Galván

* The dates of this event vary year by year. It is held every two years.
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January * Hay Festival

The Hay Festival is one of the most important cultural events in Latin America. It is held annually in January and February in Cartagena. Recognized plastic artists, musicians and renowned intellectual participate in the Festival. The programming covers literature, cine, 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.

Photo: Oscar Agredo

* The dates of this event vary year by year.

 

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January * International Music Festival

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

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

Photo: Yomaira Granderr / El Tiempo

* The dates of this event vary year by year.

 

 

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February * Barranquilla Carnival

Every year in February the Barranquilla Carnival, the most folkloric and cultural festival in Colombia, is celebrated. 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. In ritual style, on Tuesday, happiness, as represented by Joselito Carnaval, is symbolically buried and a party is held to say goodbye.

Photo: Jairo castilla Bedoya

* The dates of this event vary year by year.

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February * Cartagena International Film Festival

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

This film event awards the India Catalina Statue to the best in Ibero-American cine. 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; as well it recognizes national film and television productions.

Photo: Manuel Pedraza / El Tiempo

* The dates of this event vary year by year.

 

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March * Ibero-American Theater Festival of Bogotá

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 takes place 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 much impact with the attending public.

Photo: Proexport

* March-April every two years. The dates of this event vary year by year.

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April 26 - 30 Festival of the Vallenato Legend

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

The Vallenato is a characteristic and popular musical genre in Colombia. This Festival maintains the cultural elements constituting the identity of the Caribbean coast; the emotive songs constantly highlight the 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”.

Photo: Proexport

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April * International Book Fair

Since 1998, persons from all parts of 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 to promote reading and the publishing industry.

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

Photo: Colombia Travel

* The dates of this event vary year by year.

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June * National Festival of Song and International Joropo Tournament

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

Here music from the LLanos region and expert Joropo (regional dance) 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.

Photo: Colombia travel

* June-July The dates of this event vary year by year.

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June * Folkloric Festival and National Bambuco Pageant

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

It originates from 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.

Photo: Colombia travel

* June-July The dates of this event vary year by year.

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July * 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 these genres.

In 2003 the event was declared a National Cultural Heritage.

Photo: Colombia Travel

* The dates of this event vary year by year.

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August 3 - 12 Flower Fair

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

The fair attracts many persons 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 parade of "silleteros" (flower bearers). 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.

Photo: Telemedellín-Aquí te ves

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August * Petronio Álvarez 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, bambuco and currulaso as well as the music and traditions of the Afro-descendants of the Pacific region. The Festival promotes the recuperation of regional rhythms and the strengthening of the identity of the regions inhabitants.

Photo: Diana Marcela Gonzalez Rojas

* The dates of this event vary year by year.

 

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December 25 - 30 Cali Fair

The Cali Fair is celebrated annually from December 25 to 30. This event shows off the salsa identity of the city. The salsadrome, the inaugural act of the Fair with thousands of persons attending, is the largest parade of salsa in the world exhibiting the talents of the 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.

Photo:  Corfecali

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