World Festivals
    EuroEducation's Guide to Festivals, Holidays and Events worldwide  


Blacks and Whites' Carnival

Colombia is recognized by its large variety of festivals, carnivals and fairs. The Colombian carnival has incorporated elements from European culture as well as traditions that belonged to the African and Amerindian cultures of Colombia. The common characteristics of the festivals are the nomination of a beauty Queen and the setting up of public dance floor. A very important and traditional carnival is the Blacks and Whites' Carnival in the city of Pasto, Nariño. It is one of the most ancient carnivals in the Americas. Historically, the city of Pasto has been the crossroads and the meeting place for various peoples and colonies. In 2009 the Carnival was proclaimed by UNESCO, as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. The carnival is is celebrated every year between January 4 and 6. The carnival includes four major stages: the Carnavalito (Chlidren's Carnival), the Arrival of the Castaneda Family, Blacks' Day and Whites' Day with the Grand Parade (this being the most important day for its beauty).

Address: Proexport Colombia, Vice Presidency of Tourism, Calle 28A Nº 13A-15 Piso 36
E-mail: info@colombia.trave

Carnival float in the Blacks and Whites' Carnival in Pasto
Photograph by Jorge Luis Recalde Mesías

Carnival of Bogotá

Carnival of Bogotá is celebrated in Bogotá every year on August 5 and 6 for the city's anniversary of its Hispanic foundation. Bogotá was one of the first cities in the continent to celebrate its own carnival. The celebration first dates back to 1916 Most of the cultural events take place in the heart of Parque Metropolitano Simón Bolívar The festivities also include pre-carnival celebrations during the month of July. The objective of the new Carnival is to promote a collective atmosphere of fellowship and to celebrate life, creative expression, and enjoyment. It further aimed to generate a feeling of belonging to the city, to enforce processes of reconciliation and fair play, and the inclusion and recognition of all districts and cultures of the Capital City of Colombia.

Rock al Parque

Rock al Parque, is a rock music festival taking place in Bogotá, Colombia, since 1995. Today the festival takes place over three days at Bogotá's Simon Bolivar Park. The festival's entry is free of charge. Due to the free nature of the festival, attendees can expect it to get very busy around the afternoon. Rock al Parque is the second largest rock festival in Latin America, after Rock in Rio. The festival features national and international bands of different genres. Originally it only included rock music, gradually opened up its doors to promote other genres, such as punk, reggae, ska and blues musicians. Apocalyptica, Slipknot, Plastilina Mosh and Manu Chao have performed in Rock al Parque, among other internationally famous bands.

Rock al Parque

Ibero-American Theater Festival

The Ibero Theater Festival of Bogotá is a major cultural event in Colombia and one of the largest performing arts festivals in the whole world. It takes place every other year in the Colombian capital and brings together the most important theater companies from five continents. For seventeen days, the city becomes the setting for colorful parades. In the course of seventeen days, Colombians and visitors from all over the world come to Bogotá to massively attend the theater halls and fill the streets of the capital, enjoying an unparalleled theater adventure. The festival offers the most complete panorama of performing arts. Aside from classical works, it is a showcase of dance, circus, music, puppetry, pantomime, performance art, and even concerts, many of which take place simultaneously in Bogota’s halls and streets. Each version of the festival brings together about 2,000,000 spectators in 450 performances in theater halls and close to 150 street performances.

Address: Carrera 19 # 37 – 53, Bogotá, DC | Colombia
E-mail Ticket Master:

Festival of the Flowers

Festival of the Flowers is a festival that takes place in Medellín, Colombia. The first Festival of the Flowers took place on May 1, 1957. Today the feast of flowers takes place in early August and lasts ten days and it is the most important social event for the city. There is a pageant, automobiles, a Paso Fino horse parade and many musical concerts. It is an event that brings together thousands of visitors in search of flowers, enjoyment, music, and fun. The main flowers used are: pinocchios, lilies, carnations, agapanthuses, sunflowers, bridal veil, gladioli, chrysanthemums, roses, and orchids.

Address: Medellín Convention & Visitors Bureau, Clle 41# 55-80, Of. 302.
Tel: (57-4) 261 60 60.

Festival of the Flowers
The Paso Fino cavalcade

Barranquilla's Carnival

Barranquilla's Carnivalis Colombia's most important folklore celebration and one of the biggest carnivals in the world. The carnival has traditions that date back to the 19th century. During the carnival the city gets busy with street dances, musical and masquerade parades. Barranquilla's Carnival includes dances like the Spanish paloteo, African congo and indigenous mico y micas. Many styles of Colombian music are also performed, most prominently cumbia, and instruments include drums and wind ensembles. The Carnival starts on the Saturday before Ash Wednesday with the Battle of the Flowers, which is considered one of the main activities. The Battle of the Flowers is a traditional float parade composed of the greatest and most colorful creations. Then, The Great Parade on Sunday and Monday is marked by an Orchestra Festival with Caribbean and Latin bands. The Great Parade is considered a day of mask and disguises because floats are not present this day. Different dance groups compete against each other for the coveted prize of performing in the Battle of the Flowers the following year.

Address: Casa del Carnaval, Carrera 54 No. 49B - 39, Barranquilla, Colombia
Tel: (5) 319 76

Cali Fair

Every year, immediately after Christmas, between December 25 and 30, the city of Cali fills up with tourists from all over the country and abroad who come to participate in this great fair. The Cali Fair is the most important cultural event in Cali. It is a celebration of the region's cultural identity, famous for the Salsa marathon, horse riding parades and dance parties. The Fair has been celebrated since 1957. The fair aims to promote cultural, ethnical, and musical diversity in the region. People enjoy many activities like an opening cabalgata (parade of horseback riders), tascas, salsa concerts, bullfightsparades, athletic activities/competitions and cultural exhibitions. Cali also stands out as the world salsa capital, with the best national and international orchestras vibrating throughout the city and bringing together different kinds of publics in closed shows with performances by phenomenal prize-winning dancers and in multitudinous concerts staged by the best interpreters of this musical genre.
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