Every major city in Colombia has some major festival or fair at some point during the year. In Barranquilla, they have carnival. In Bogotá, they have the theatre festival (every two years), and in Cali, they have a salsa festival. In Medellin, dubbed “The City of Eternal Spring,” they have La Feria de las Flores, or, “The Fair of Flowers.”
**Every night for the nine nights before Christmas Colombians celebrate novenas, so I will be writing a blog post every day about Colombian Christmas traditions. Feliz Navidad!**
In Colombia, Christmas decorations, especially lights, are quite popular. From the end of November on, stores become filled with garlands, strands of lights, and ornaments for people to decorate their homes with. Colombians also buy artificial Christmas trees, as real pine trees are hard to come by.
December 7, La Noche de Las Velitas, is the official day to put up Christmas lights and decorations. Medellin and Bogotá especially go crazy with Christmas lights. This year Medellin had 16 million lights around the city, and Bogotá had 7 million. Both of the cities give tours so you can see all of the lights. Some people also put up lights in and around their homes, and many apartment buildings also decorate the outside.
Almost all Colombian homes will have a Christmas tree and a nativity scene, or pesebre. The nativity scene is especially important because during the novenas friends and families gather around it to sing villancicos and say prayers. However, Christmas trees have not always been a typical tradition in Colombian; this custom came over from the States. Also, people used to have live Christmas trees, but this is now illegal so as not to harm the environment.
Here is a video of the lights in Medellin:
This past Thursday, December 8, was a holiday in Colombia. December 8 is the day of the Immaculate Conception, and on the eve before this holiday Colombians celebrate La Día de las Velitas (The Night of Candles). Continue reading
Exciting news! GoAbroad.com, one of the leading websites on meaningful travel and studying, living, and working abroad, has chosen to feature The Wanderlust Chronicles as their Blog of the Week. In honor of having my blog featured on GoAbroad.com, I want to tell you, Dear Reader, why I chose to, well, go abroad to Colombia. Continue reading
When discussing cultural differences of a place, one simply cannot ignore the food. Colombia has some very interesting and different foods that also vary within different regions of the country.
First, the fruits. There are some crazy fruits found in Colombia. Well, crazy to a gringo, that is. No Colombian meal is complete without a pitcher of freshly made fruit juice. In the coast, I drank juice of pineapple, mango, blackberry, passion fruit, guava, strawberry, orange, mandarin, lulo, corozo, tomate de arbol, guanabana, and many others. There are even more unusual fruits that are not commonly made into juices. My favorite is definitely tomate de arbol. It’s sort of like a citrusy tomato juice—think V-8 Splash, not the regular V-8.