What’s behind Medellin Flower’s Festival

What’s behind Medellin Flower’s Festival

Medellín flourished this month with the most emblematic and colorful event of the city; The Flower Fair … an event that honors the “Silletero’s” culture, which is lived in Santa Elena Town, where since 61 years ago the farmers move to the city to show a sample of its beautiful flowers, creativity, effort, passion and tradition.

The “silletas” were used initially to load people and move them from one town to another through the mountains, then according to historians of the XVIII century, Santa Elena’s farmers appropriated these to transport their flowers and vegetables to the city, and sell them to the people around. One of their favorite places was the Plaza de Cisneros, where the city’s commercial activity took place, and where nowadays Las Luces Park is located.

The idea of ​​silleteros parade was born in 1957, when Don Arturo Uribe Arango, member at that time of the Development and Tourism board, came up with the invitation to a group of “Silleteros” of Santa Elena, to participate in a parade, this first invitation was attended by 40 farmers who showed off the variety of flowers and artistic creations, and today they continue, but now there are more than 500 silleteros who parade annually through the city.

“For me it was a joy to see the “Chivas” (colorful busses used for farmers to transport their different products to trade) at 4:00 am when they arrived at “Placita de Flórez”, and the farmers unloaded the bouquets of different sizes they carefully”, said Don Arturo Uribe when he saw the multicolored show, and commented to Anita Moreno de Lalinde, then president of the Gardening Club, that “it would be very beautiful to watch the flower growers parade”.

Here some interesting points around silleteros parade:

  • Silletas are symbols that represent the Silletero´s trade, his dreams, worries, and thoughts. They are part of the memory and story about the region and along the time they are becoming symbols of the city and the country.
  • The Silletero tradition is handed down generation to generation. Silleteros will parade for many years and then will hand the tradition down to their descendants who will, in turn, carry on the tradition.
  • Silleteros always smile. No matter how heavy the silleta is, Silletero carries it with love, pride, courage, and above all fortitude. One silleta can weigh between 70 and 100 Kg.
  • Showing the femenine side of the tradition are the lady Silleteros. Most of the women will carry baskets adorned with flowers.
  • No matter how many years the Silletero has been participating, at every parade he poses with pride in front of his silleta, his creation. With the same feeling he shows it to the thousands of espectators who admiringly applaud as he walks by.
  • Silletas keep an almost perfect arrangement. Looking at them from afar the diversity of styles and colors stands out.They can be similar in size and composition, but each ones retains each own identity and its own characteristics as bestoweed by its creator.
  • One Silletero´s Triumph means family joy.

But the flower fair is not just the “Silletero’s” Parade; They are 10 holidays around this event! orchids, flowers and handicrafts exhibitions, vintage cars parade, concerts and artistic shows, typical gastronomic tastings, tango, valet and salsa shows, equine fair, band festival, classic motorcycles and chivas parade.

During the fair is also a perfect opportunity to get to know the city, its social transformation, its graffiti art, its museums and Botero’s masterpieces, as well as to become touched by its joyful and festive spirit. Take a trip to Santa Elena, Guatapé, Jardín or Jericó, places with beautiful landscapes, where the “Silleteros” tradition and Antioquia’s coffee culture is alive.

This flower fair that took place the first days of the month of August ended, and left memorable experiences both for foreigners and locals who enjoyed it. We are ready to continue connecting our visitors with events such as this, that exalt the culture and local values, that contribute positively to the communities and that are part of Colombia’s cultural heritage.

Picture gallery medellin silleteros parade

Andrea Guerra

Founder at TeConnecta