5 Festivals in Colombia you can’t miss

5 Festivals in Colombia you can’t miss

COLOMBIA IS FILLED WITH JOY

Colombia is a country recognized for its joy, its diversity of fauna and flora and for the partying personality that every Colombian has in its heart. And of course, if we have an abundant number of world-renowned festivals, which infect all the people who visit them with their colors, art and energy.

Barranquilla’s Carnival

In case you don’tknow,  this festival is one of the largest and most important in the country and the second largest in the world after the Rio Carnival, Brazil.

It is not known exactly in which year it began, but its oldest records show the year 1829 where Van Rensselaer, an American traveler, writes a chronicle of his presence and participation in the Barranquilla carnival.

The carnival is a fusion of cultural exhibitions, including parades, costumes, concerts, music and all the joy of its people, which make it one of the most unforgettable experiences to live in Colombia.

It is divided into 2 moments:

Pre-carnival

Where the carnival  king  and queen play whistles to announce the year that begins and give rise to the Reading of the Bando. This happens during the first week of February.

They continue with several fun activities to show what is coming, such as the City Take, the Gay Carnival, which has been an official part of the event since 2002 and La Guacherna, this being the most important celebration of the pre-carnival.

Carnival

It starts the last week of February and lasts 4 days (Saturday to Tuesday). The parades are accompanied by local people who wear clothing with scraps, colors, full of accessories, makeup, masks and floats.

It has folk and heritage dances which tell stories, myths and legends, each with representative costumes of the creation of these.

The Marimonda can be seen with its distinctive mask of large ears and long trunk, the mockery of the different social groups of yesteryear and the icons of Barranquilla’s memory.

It is definitely a space to connect with the Colombian and Caribbean soul and one of the most fun ways to start the year full of dance, good vibes and wonderful stories to tell.

Marimondas dancing at the rhythm of the Carnival

Ibero-American Theatre Festival

This great display of culture and example of international synergy began from 1988 in Bogota, to celebrate the  450th years of the city’s founding.

The founders; Fanny Mikey and Ramiro Osorio, decided to set up this event as an artistic stage in the streets of the city, without thinking that at some point this would become the place of integration of Latin America and world recognition that it is today.

This performing arts festival each year has a motto, which invites a specific purpose. The first one was “An act of faith in Colombia” And so, until today, it has been celebrated every 2 years.

Since 2002, they began to invite different countries to expand the festival. The first guest country was Germany and for this 2020 the XVII edition is celebrated and the the guest will be Australia.

It starts  the last week of March and lasts 17 days. The events it has are with the aim of showing the artistic talent of the participants,  which are:

  • Street theater
  • Children’s and youth theater
  • Theater room
  • Counters
  • Dance
  • International concerts

If you like performing arts, this is the space for you, because the streets of Bogotá are dressed in art and welcome locals and foreigners who want to be part of it. The diversity of this event will allow you to discover and discover yourself from the cultural richness of Colombia and the invited countries.

Show in hall of the biggest performing arts festival

Devil’s Carnival


Legend has it that, previously, Riosucio was divided into 2 villages, Quiebralomo and La Montaña. The enmity between these two was so strong that they had 2 churches and 2 different parks just one block away.

In 1818, the priests of both villages disagreed with the separation and decided to gather both peoples to make them join. They succeeded with the threat of punishment from Satan to those who imposed themselves upon this divine request.

Thus, in 1915, the devil went from being the terror of the people  to a characteristic figure of this,bringing one of the most picturesque carnivals of Colombia.

The Riosucio Carnival takes place every two years at the end of the first week of January. It  opens at midnight with the Joyful Awakening of the Carnival and continues with events such as the Children’s Carnival, the Devil’s Entrance where it is presented as the leading figure and the Devil’s Burn as a sign of the end of  his  reign.

This Devil is not  religious,  represents  an animic state inherited from the Aboriginal cultural tradition and the mixture of culturas and races that occurred in the western part of what is now called Caldas.

A different party,  which invites you to connect with the ancestral traditions and histories of the region and the opportunity to get to know this destination of Colombia in a special and unique way.

Effigy of the Devil at the Carnival

Blacks and Whites Carnival

It is the largest and most important festival in southern Colombia. It was born in 1546  and presents the fusion of multiple cultures and expressions that come from the Andes, the Amazon and the Pacific.

It is held from January 2 to 7 eachyear. On September 30th, 2002, it was declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the UNESCO Committee.

Although it is a week of celebrations, Blacks and Whites begins much earlier in conjunction with the arrival of Christmas in Colombia on December 7th. Attendees are prepared with events such as Fool’s Day and Rainbow on the Asphalt. Then, on January 3rd, the official start with the Carnavalito, to the sound of pure music and party.

At the festival, there is a day where everyone paints their faces black and, by creating a “mask” with the paint, they are disinhibited, letting out all their wishes in a folkloric and fun way. Another day they are painted white with talcum powder and perform the Grand Parade, where the biggest cultural displays of the carnival are seen.

This carnival teaches us that differences in colors and cultures are an opportunity to celebrate and highlight values. If you want to live an original experience to the Colombian rhythm, we invite you to feel and live this great festival.

Blacks and Whites Celebration
¡Qué viva Pasto, carajo!

Vallenata Legend Festival

This festival seeks the dissemination of the folkloric expression known as Música Vallenata, rhythm of a lot of tradition and history in Colombia. It has been held from April 26 to 30 in Valledupar, El Cesar,  since 1968 and is the largest festival of popular culture.

There are  moments of  partying, peasant poetry, tales, legends, myths, oral tradition, literary, sociocultural and artistic expressions associated with vallenato.

The idea came from Consuelo Araújo who, together with the composer Rafael Escalona and a group of friends, sought to institutionalize and recreate the feast of the Virgen del Rosario. During these celebrations, it was customary in the popular neighborhoods to perform the “colitas” (parties with vallenata music).

It is a space full of music and local talent, where you can dance and sing to the sound of the most popular Colombian rhythms.

Diatonic accordion, one of the main instruments of the Vallenato

Each of these festivals is a unique and authentic experience, to live when traveling through Colombia. However, in addition to these 5, we want to mention some others that also have their own essence and grace.

They are:

Flower’s Festival

It is held every year in the first week of August in  Medellin, Colombia. It is a festival full of music, flowers and colors, to live the best that Medellin has.

Light Festival

It takes place on December 8th every year,  when Villa de Leyva begins its Christmas season with a spectacular festival full of streetlights with candles and a magical show of pyrotechnics.

Expo-artesanías

It is the most important craft fair in LatinAmerica. Where you will find the most elaborate handicrafts, made with the love of cultural traditions of the region. It takes place the first 2 weeks of December.

Cartagena de Indias Film Festival


It was created in 1959 and is the oldest film festival in Latin America. It has 58 guests and 58 jurors and they have screened more than 5 thousand films.

Jazz al Parque

It seeks to bring  people closer to this wonderful musical genre. It had  its beginnings in 1988 in Bogota, managing to become one of the most important festivals in America.

In Colombia each festival is an opportunity to celebrate diversity and origins, highlight the qualities and values of a place, history and population, and especially the invitation to connect with a part of us in a country full of all colors and flavors.