Music is also a big part of their culture and when visiting Colombia, you’ll instantly meet people who know how to salsa. Since music is ingrained in its culture, so is their love for celebrations. Each major city in Colombia hosts a carnival yearly and during these times, cities are decked out in colorful artworks and lively costumes. Barranquilla’s unique Carnival festival is one of the most well-known and talked about festivals in Colombia.
The Welcoming of Spring
The significance of Carnival is that it’s meant to welcome in spring while highlighting new beginnings. The year 1967 marks the beginning of the Great Parade after the First Battle of Flowers Parade in 1903. Before the actual celebration, there are a lot of pre-parties and readings beforehand. The reading of the Carnival Proclamation is one of the most valuable events. It usually begins in La Paz Square where the mayor hands down the keys of the city to the queen of the carnival granting her the power to oversee the entire duration of the carnival. The Crowning of the Carnival Queen is also one of the most important shows where the previous queen hands off her power to the current one.
El Carnaval de Barranquilla
Barranquilla’s Carnival is a celebration worth witnessing especially the coronation of the queen during the parade. After the pre-Carnival festivities, the actual celebration begins where people and foreigners alike, flock to the city to enjoy bouts of drinking, dancing, and collective happiness. The four-day festival carries a hundred years of tradition and no street is left untouched since the whole city stops to celebrate.
Batalla de Flores
Batalla de Flores is an important component of the festival that lasts a whole 6 hours. It’s filled with lively dancing, live and upbeat music, and people dressed in glittering costumes with colorful feathers. You’ll also see streets lined with impressive floats paired with spectacular dancing and performances. There are multiple concerts held every night with talented salsa bands that play until 5 in the morning. If you’re looking to visit South America, it’s worth it to visit Barranquilla’s Carnival at least once. It’s a festival that’s certainly worth the schlep and you might even learn a few new salsa moves and great company.