The annual carnival in Pasto
The annual carnival in Pasto is one of the oldest festivals on the continent. Historians connect it with the uprising of African slaves in 1607, which caused panic among the Spanish authorities. This event remained in the memory of the black population, and from this the traditions of a "rest day," when people could feel free, arose. The king of Spain affirmed this day on January 5. When this news was declared the black population went out onto the streets of the cities, people danced to African music and painted all the white walls of houses black. These festivals were eventually transferred to Pasto. Seeing an occasion for a holiday, rich people and the elite were attracted to the festivals. In 1887 the Airbe family exerted efforts toward the transformation of the carnival into a mass holiday, with the use of masks and carnival costumes. This family then became one of the heroes of the carnival. The carnival begins with the arrival of comic characters into Pasto – the members of the Castaneda family, dressed in 19th century costumes. The Airbe family served as the prototypes of these characters. Festivals begin on December 28 with “the day of the naive”, and on this day the Day of Water is held - people pour water on unsuspecting passers-by.
The carnival in Barranquilla
The carnival in Barranquilla is one of the most unique and merriest holidays in Colombia, reflecting the Caribbean multiethnic character. This carnival is 3rd in importance in the world, after carnivals in Rio de Janeiro and New Orleans. The tradition and history of the carnival is lost in past centuries and came to Colombia from Spain. The spirit of renovation comes from Spain and is connected to the Catholic Easter holiday. Later, the carnival acquired the unique features which made UNESCO declare it a nonmaterial treasure of humanity in 2003. This is a unique holiday where all are direct participants. Nevertheless, it is closely connected with the holidays of the African slaves of Cartagena, who had only one day off in the year. The multicultural nature of this holiday can be divided into 7 blocks - Caribbean folklore, expressive dancing (which includes elements of poetry), special dances with specific subjects, parades or “Komparsa”, comedy (popular theatre, peoples folk theatre), “Letanias” (groups that use a soloist and choir and have satiric poetic direction and a type of folk songs), and finally, a costume element - both single and collective. In 2008 the carnival was held from January 12 to February 5. It consists both of free and paid activities.
Holy Week in Popayan
Popayan is a small colonial city in the south of Colombia, the capital of the department Kauka. It is called “white city” because of the abundance of white churches. This is the city with the greatest quantity of churches per capita. Many are from the 16th and 17th centuries and are rich in treasures of colonial art, carving, gold, adornments, and statues of the saints brought by Spanish conquistadors. Every year during Holy Week more than 400,000 pilgrims and tourists come to the city to admire the colorful religious processions. The tradition of the processions began in 1556, soon after the discovery of America when Spaniards began to spread Christianity on the conquered land. The new Creolian elite - the masters of gold mines who built the first churches and decorated them with their gold and precious stones - joined the Spaniards. The traditions of Catholic religious celebrations began around the same time, and many of these traditions were accepted by the indigenous in view of their clarity and colorfulness.
The Ibero-American Theater Festival was created in 1988 under the slogan “I believe in Colombia,” by actress and producer Fanni Mikey and actor Ramiro Osorio, and it is dedicated to the 450th anniversary of Bogota's foundation. It is usually held for 17 days every 2 years during the end of March and beginning of April. Nowadays, it is the largest festival of theatrical skill in the world. Forty-two countries participated in the 10th version of the festival, which took place from March 31 to April 16, 2006, with 66 international and 154 Colombian theatrical associations. More than 700 performances were held in 26 halls, 30 parks, the bull-fighting arena, and the exhibition center Corferias, equipped as city-theatre. Twenty-four thousand actors and two-million-six-hundred-thousand spectators added life to this mega-event. The festival takes place both in the theaters and in the streets - there are performances in the city's parks and open areas, and many events are free. Children's plays, street theater, circus, pantomime, dance, Chinese opera, folklore performances, and other stage arts are presented.
Medellin is the capital of the department of Antioquia. It is situated in the middle of the country and is the center of Colombia's textile and fashion industry. A fair is held in the city every year from August 3 to 12. This is one of the brightest and most unique holidays in Colombia, and it gathers numerous tourists from all corners of the country, and from abroad. Medellin is the city of eternal spring, and its excellent climate makes it possible to grow all types of flowers. The history of this holiday began in 1957, when the tourist office invited a group of peasants who grew flowers in the mountain villages to participate in one of the city parades. These people, with enormous baskets on their backs full of colourful bouquets, became the brightest distinguished feature of the parade. Thus the parade of “siyeteros” (people with bouquets) was born. Later, the parade developed into the enormous multicolored holiday it is today, which includes a national talent competition, multi-thousand Cavalcades through the city (the inhabitants of Antiokia are famous for their love of horses, and the best Colombian Pacers breeders are here), and exhibitions of birds, orchids, and other flowers. There were records registered in the Guinness book of records in 1996 and 1999, and the parade of ancient automobiles, numerous concerts and competitions are also shown. Furthermore, there are typical Colombian taverns and small restaurants all over the city, where it is possible to eat, drink and dance.
The observation of whales in the Pacific Ocean
Humpback whales, or whales of yubarta, swim from the Antartic up to the Pacific coast of Colombia in the middle of the year - from July until October - for the reproduction and birth of their young in the warmer waters of the tropics. In Colombia, more than 2600 people come to observe. On the Pacific coast there are several places where one can see these gigantic mammals closer, at a distance of 20 to 200 meters. This is done at the Malaga Bay on the archipelago La Plata and beaches of Ladriyeros and Khuanchako - one of the most important places in the world for the reproduction of these animals.
Rally (3 days, 2 nights)
In 2009 Colombia had the chance to take part in the selective competitions of the world championship of Rally FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup. In September 2007, Colombia was chosen as the “Candidate rally!” of the American continent. The international federation of motor sport subdivides the participants on the motorcycles into several categories: Super-production (motorcycles created especially for the competitions) and Marathon (series motorcycles). Furthermore, there is a special category for quadrocycles - ATV. In Colombia, this differentiation is not used; all participants compete in one category. Besides this, there is a Tourist category of participation, which includes movement along the rally route and time estimation, but is not in competition for the prize places. For automobiles there are 2 categories: T-1 (cars modified for competitions) and T-5 (series cars).