Colombia stands out as one of the countries that have a lot of national public holidays, summing up to around twenty days every single year. In addition, there are many festivals and carnivals. We are talking about a Catholic country so the main celebrations are held around Easter and Christmas time. The month that is the most celebrated is December.
The main holidays and festivals, those that have the highest international and domestic visibility include those below.
Black And White Festival
Traditionally held in January, this is a 3 days carnival festival in Pasto. The showcase includes various Afro-Colombian, Colombian, Spanish colonial and indigenous rituals. On the 28th of December we have the pre-carnival stage that starts. Actual festival celebrations begin on January 4th with a really large parade. The following 2 days include celebrations with various themes. On the fifth of January, participants dress in black or use black cosmetics while on the following day they replace black with white, thus giving the festival its suggestive name.
Also held in January, this is a one week-long festival held every single year right after Cali’s Festival. We have quite clear European and Spanish influences that are visible, with many extraordinary events like bull running. Traditions will be mixed with some that are 100% Colombian, mostly focused on the coffee industry.
Held in February, this four days festival is one of the biggest of all the Colombian events. The UNESCO UN cultural body sees the importance of the festival as one that is high, highlighting it with the label “intangible heritage of humanity”. There are many days that feature music, dancing, drinking and parades.
If you want to experience Easter processions in a different way than in the rest of the country, head over towards Popayan, which is a historic small city. We have a very interesting religions procession here that sees various holiday related wooden carvings being carried along a two kilometres route around the city. During the holy week, this happens every single month. It is a tradition that is long lasting and that attracts so many visitors every single year. However, the event still remains sober.
World Salsa Festival
Held in August, the World Salsa Festival takes place in the capital of the music genre, Cali. We have an 8 days festival that features thousands of artists, musicians and dancers. Around twenty national orchestras appear every year and we see so many events that are planned. That will include talks, salsa lessons, workshops and shows.
Independence Celebration And National Beauty Pageant – Cartagena
This is such an interesting celebration that marks the independence obtained in 1811 from the Spanish. The festival features traditional dances, fireworks and so much music that you will love what you see. As the title above entitles, the beauty pageant is the main attraction, an event that will crown the representative of Colombia for the Miss Universe contest.
Festival Of Cali
Last but not least, the Festival of Cali is a 5 days festival that is held between New Year and Christmas. There is always an inaugural concert that will see an attendance of around 60,000 individuals. Various parades and music concerts exist, with high profile music stars in Latin America being invited every year.