My love of Colombia was evident from an earlier post, so I am writing more to entice you to go…..
Covering an area of 1.1m square kilometres my three and a half weeks just wasn’t long enough but I did manage to immerse myself in the chaotic festive spirit over the holiday season, which now seems oh so long ago.
A Christmas tradition for some people is to dress as the devil or a demon, and along with musical accompaniment dance through the streets. It seems the original festive role of this legendary character was to whip bad children to make them good. But as with all things Colombian it just looks to me like another reason to party in the street!
Sadly for brave spectators, in 2015 the New Year tradition of setting mannequins packed with fireworks alight at midnight was banned by the Government; this was due to several serious injuries occurring each year. I have seen this celebration in Mexico and it was crazily dangerous but fun! Colombians create effigies of famous people who haven’t
performed well during the year, this is typically sport stars or politicians but can just be a relatively blank canvas. These life size figures take pride of place outside houses and in the street for the week leading up to New Year. The burning of the mannequins and erratic explosion of fireworks symbolises goodbye to the celebrity for last year and welcomes in the New Year with hope and promise. The concept is a great one, perhaps more health and safety focus required though….
Whilst in Colombia I also discovered a host of interesting things, and here are just a few:
- Smart(?) thinking means that one of the best places to pick up a prostitute is outside church. That way you can repent and pay for sex at the same time.
- Bogota’s gold museum is simply dazzling. Home to a huge collection of gold made into exquisite accessories and ornaments it is the glittering jewel of an edgy capital city.
- In 2015 Ariadna Gutiérrez Arevalo, representing Colombia was crowned Miss Universe. Though the elation only lasted for a matter of moments, as the host realised he had accidentally crowned the wrong finalist and she had to pass back the crown. The country erupted…..
- The majority of non-South American cannot spell the word Colombia, confusing it with a US city. This to the locals can only be described as annoying.
- The World’s largest necropolis, in San Agustin was founded by an ancient civilisation pre-dating the more renowned Inca’s. Not much is known about this race as all that remains are numerous stone statues of people, animals and deities.
- Cosmetic surgery is in serious abundance for the ladies. I saw some of the most outrageously and dis-proportionally curved women that I have ever seen!