The diversity of cultures is what strikes most people when they travel to Colombia

All this mix of Indian, African and Spanish influences has given life to a multitude of festivals where ancestral traditions are highlighted.

This does not prevent the country from offering many festivals with more contemporary themes.

The Barranquilla Carnival

In Colombia, if there is one event not to be missed, it is the Carnival of Barranquilla, the most important folk festival in the country, but also the oldest.

About 50 villages take part in the preparations and parades that take place the last four days before Lent.

This event has been named Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

Events in colombia festivals carnivals
Carnaval de Barranquilla

Semana Santa

To celebrate the “Semana Santa” which takes place at Easter, Popayan is the place where the events are the most important. Faithfuls and tourists attend the processions and other religious events such as a festival of holy music.

The town of Mompox, near the Caribbean coast, also organizes very beautiful celebrations for Holy Week.

  • Dates : From the 14th to the 20th of April 2019
semana santa popayan © Miguel Varona
Semana Santa in Popayan – Photo © Miguel Varona

Medellín Flower Festival

In August Medellín‘s Flower Festival features huge parades of floats and companies, the highlight of which is the appearance of the “silleteros”, men carrying monumental flower arrangements on their backs. A magnificent festival that lasts a week and attracts the local population as well as many tourists.

feria de las flores medellin © feriadelasfloresmedellin
feria de las flores medellin © FeriadelaFloresMedellin

Cali World Salsa Festival

If you are in the Cali region in September, the World Salsa Festival is an event not to be missed.A festival with a great atmosphere and where you can admire some of the best salsa dancers in the world.

Take the opportunity to attend one of the many free shows.

ferias de cali
Ferias de Cali

Cali Music Festival

Also in August, in Cali, the Festival de Musica del Pacifico Petronio Alvarez celebrates the music and especially the rhythms of the Pacific coast, influenced by the African music that the slaves imported when they arrived in the region.

festival petronio alvarez cali

Alumbrados de Medellín Christmas Illuminations

In December, it is absolutely necessary to attend the Christmas illuminations! Opt for Medellín, repeated winner of the Alumbrado Navideno competition. During this event, Colombia’s largest cities compete to decorate the banks of their rivers with exceptional illuminations.

Real moments of joy in perspective.

alumbrados medellin

El Carnaval del Diablo

The Riosucio Carnival, also known as the Devil’s Carnival, is a carnival that takes place every two years, in odd years, in Riosucio, Colombia, in January for five days.

It celebrates the union of two villages through the symbol of the devil.

The Carnival has its origins in the 19th century when Riosucio was founded, after a territorial dispute between the towns of Quiebralomo and La Montaña.

This devil has no biblical connotation and represents the cultural idiosyncrasies of the indigenous people, the slaves and the white Europeans who colonized these lands.

carnaval del diablo © joaquin sar
Carnaval del Diablo – Photo © Joaquin Sar

Other Important Events and Carnivals

Other events take place depending on the region:

  • Armenia: Coffee Festival in October
  • Bogota: Al Parque Rock Festival in July / Independence Day on July 20 / Anniversary of the foundation of Bogota on August 6 / Jazz Festival in September.
  • Barichara and Bucaramanga: September is the month of festivals (piano, fair, sculpture, cinema…).
  • Cali: Week of the Calidiversidad in June / Salsa Fair in December.
  • Cartagena: Summer Festival in June (concerts) / Independence Day on November 12th / Jazz Festival in December
  • Leticia: Jungle Triathlon in July / Scarecrow Parade in November
  • Manizales: Fair in January (election of Miss Café, street shows) / Theatre Festival in October
  • Medellin: Tango Festival in June / Festival of Troubadours in September
  • San Agustin: Film Festival at the Archaeological Park Auditorium in November
  • Uribia: 3 days of festivities (May-June) to discover the local gastronomy, dances and crafts.
  • Villa de Leyva: Festival of Lights on December 7th.

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