7 junio, 2024

Festivals of the Caribbean region of Colombia

The festivities of the Caribbean region of Colombia are an important part of its cultural and social life. The best known, both within the country and internationally, is the famous Barranquilla carnival, considered the second largest in the world.

Besides, other celebrations stand out such as the National Beauty Pageant or the Fiestas del Mar in Santa Marta. The Caribbean region of Colombia is located in the north of the country, bordering the sea that gives it its name.

It is made up of 8 different departments: Atlántico, Bolívar, La Guajira, Cesar, Sucre, Córdoba, Magdalena, and the islands of San Andrés and Providencia. Among its cities, Cartagena de Indias and Barranquilla stand out, as well as Santa Marta, Montería or Valledupar.

Main festivals of the Caribbean region

The best-known festivities in the region are a sample of the cheerful character of its inhabitants, as well as the traditions that have been preserved in all the departments. We find religious festivals, related to the sea or that celebrate the different musical styles that have been born there.

1. Barranquilla Carnival

The carnival that is celebrated annually in the city of Barranquilla was declared by Unesco «Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity» in 2003.

This celebration has more than a hundred years of history, although the exact date of its beginning is not known. The oldest reference dates from 1829, when an American traveler claimed to have participated in it.

Currently, it summons more than a million participants, attracting people from all over the country and abroad.

The date is movable, since it depends on the religious calendar. Thus, the first day is always the Saturday before Ash Wednesday and lasts until the following Tuesday. In any case, there are related activities throughout the year.

2. festivals of the sea

These festivities are a recognition of the historical relationship that the region has always had with the Caribbean Sea. Held in Santa Marta, its first edition was in 1959 and it takes place every year at the end of July.

Although these festivities are a good showcase of the dances and traditions of the city and, by extension, of the entire department of Magdalena, the main activities have to do with maritime sports.

In this way, there are usually swimming, skiing or jumping competitions. In addition, visitors can watch a parade of whalers. Finally, the district captain of the sea is chosen among the young women of the city, who must demonstrate her skills in water sports.

3. Vallenato Legend Festival

This festival mixes a tribute to vallenato, a musical style born in the region, and a religious celebration. It is celebrated every year in Valledupar, capital of the department of Cesar, at the end of April. Its first edition took place in 1968, with the aim of recognizing the importance of this music as a cultural vehicle, as well as preserving its rhythms.

For its part, in the religious aspect, a legend is commemorated that relates the intervention of the Virgin in a dispute between indigenous people and Spaniards.

At first, the Virgin resurrects the Spaniards killed in battle. Later, when the conquistadors take their revenge, she appears again, this time to bring the indigenous people back to life. Every year this scene is performed during the festival.

4. cumbia festival

It is a party that honors another of the musical styles typical of the area. It has been celebrated since 1970 in El Banco, department of Magdalena, in the month of June.

The origin of this music and the festivals and ceremonies in which it was used is not entirely clear. It seems that the Chimilla Indians used it at the funerals of their leaders, but it also has clear African influences.

In the current festival, numerous couples dance on stages set up for the occasion. Likewise, contests are held in which the dancers demonstrate who best masters their technique and the art of dancing it.

In addition, different shows take place throughout the city that show the cultural richness of the city.

5. the corralejas

These bullfighting festivals are held in various locations throughout the Caribbean region, although perhaps the best known is the one that takes place every January 20 in Sincelejo, in the department of Sucre.

These celebrations have a clear Spanish origin and expanded in the area during the colonial period. During the festivities, up to 40 fighting bulls fight to the rhythm of popular music from the region, such as the porro and the fandango.

Those of Sincelejo date from 1845 and their name comes from the word “corral”. It is the space traditionally built with wood in which the bull is fought.

other parties

Independence festivities in Cartagena. Festival of the legend of the Caiman Man (in Plato). International Caribbean Theater Festival (in Santa Marta). Festivities of the Virgen del Carmen (in Aracataca). Rice Festival (in Badillo). Tambora Festival (in Tamalameque). Composers Festival (in Badillo). Festival of Francisco the Man (in Riiohacha). Livestock Fair (in Montería). National Beauty Contest.


Petula, U. 5 Caribbean Cultural Festivals Not to be Missed. Recovered from caribbeanandco.com.
Characteristics of the Caribbean Region. Retrieved from colombiapatrimoniocultural.wordpress.com.
Carnival of Barranquilla. Retrieved from ich.unesco.org.
Corralejas de Sincelejo. Retrieved from colombia.com.
Phillips, M. The wonders of Colombia’s Caribbean coast. Retrieved from lonelyplanet.com.

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