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Tag: Festivals

Día de las velitas

by Alex on Dec.08, 2009, under Blog

I was both surprised and happy to find out that the ‘day of the candles’ is a specifically Colombian thing. Surprised as being of Catholic origin I’d have thought that it would be celebrated in other Catholic countries and happy as being specific to Colombia means that you probably know nothing about it.

It is said that celebrations vary across the country but it seems they mostly consist of lining the streets with millions of candles and hanging lanterns from everywhere, either on the eve of the 7th or morn of the 8th of December. My friends told me that the tradition is one of celebration of love and friendship and that on their balconies and from their eaves, on their doorsteps and on their streets, people place and hang the candles and lanterns as individual dedications to those for whom they care and it’s pretty. For me the candles will always mean this – I’m quite happy to ignore the alternative (religious) explanation.

From our apartment, we watched the fireworks explode from the top of the Colpatria building then went out for a wander. The streets were lively and indeed were lined with lanterns made from paper bags, sand and candles with paper lanterns hanging all over the shop. Front doors were open with families hanging out on what would be their stoops were they a little bigger – this in itself is unusual as doors are normally securely locked in this part of town. Septima, the main street, was packed to bursting; I’ve never seen it so full, nor Plaza de Bolívar. Rammed with sightseers and vendors selling hot drinks food and stuff with flashing lights on, the massive Christmas tree was lit up as were the buildings around the squares as you can see from the pics below:

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I couldn’t find anyone selling (cell phone) minutes though, which seemed odd as you can go there on a day when it’s mostly empty and find at least 30 people selling calls. I’ve dug around on the interweb and found these pictures from around Colombia.

Well, they certainly like to celebrate here. So far not a week has gone by without learning of a new festival or celebration or at least a big event of some kind, which is great as far as I’m concerned!

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