The good people of Medellin are not the kind to shy away from a party, festival, fair, or any reason to get merry, dance about or celebrate some seemingly random event. In fact, throughout the year you will find a number of excellent and varied events going on in different parts of the city, showcasing the paisa spirit for celebration and merriment.
Here you will find the expected celebrations, only perhaps taken to another level. Semana Santa (Easter) is both a sombre and joyous occasion, with the standard processions, while the Christmas period kicks off on December 7 no less, with the turning on of the lights which is accompanied by a parade and dancing, which almost seems mandatory in Medellin.
Slightly less raucous perhaps is the open-air International Poetry Festival, held July. For something a bit more frisky, head there during Amor y Amistad, Colombia’s equivalent to Valentine’s day which, as you might expect from the amorous paisas, lasts a whole week. As you might expect, they do also celebrate on February 14.
Other festivals of note include Colombiamoda in July, the country’s largest fashion fair and the Feria de Artesanias, also in July, which is a massive handicrafts fair held in the giant stadium complex. However, the most significant festival in Medellin has got to be the Feria de las Flores.
Feria de las Flores
Colombia is one of the world’s largest producers of flowers, which are renowned worldwide for their quality and spectacular array of colours. Nowhere is this better demonstrated than during August’s festival, where huge rainbow displays line the streets of the city.
The festival, which lasts several days, began in 1957 when 40 peasants from a nearby village started a parade in honour of the city’s silleteros (flower carriers, who carried not just flowers, but possessions and even family members on their backs) and it has been growing in popularity ever since. The highlight of the festival is the parade of the silleteros, during which hundreds of them are honoured as they show off their incredible displays. Another interesting part of the festivities, even if it is a little bit out of place, is the vintage car parade.