Yet another extremely pleasant Sunday afternoon surprise.
More than 2,000 dancers and musicians from the Colombian cities of Barranquilla and Pasto took part in a Carnaval-style parade in Bogota’s downtown districts yesterday as part of the city’s 477th anniversary celebration.
Several thousand people lined the parade route that snaked through the capital from the centro internacional to the central Bolivar Square. And in the case of many revelers who didn’t want to stop there, a bit beyond as well.
Those who came from Barranquilla brought with them pieces and parts of the Carnaval de Barranquilla, Colombia’s most important folklore celebration and also one of the biggest carnivals in the world which annually takes place forty days before the Christian Holy Week. In 2003 it was proclaimed a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
The participants from Pasto were representative of the city’s renowned Carnaval de Negros y blancos de Pasto, or Blacks and Whites’ Carnival, the largest carnival in southern Colombia, held each January. It too received UNESCO’s Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity proclamation.
The best sculpture was the one pictured at top. It was massive but well-balanced; I watched three men hold and position it as they handed it over from one dancer-carrier to another.
I was feeling a little burned out by Bogota’s grit and desperation over the past week so crossing paths with the parade was a chestful of much-needed fresh air. The color, the smiles, the moves and the grooves were just what the proverbial doctor ordered. All things considered, it was probably the best way to spend and remember my last Sunday afternoon in the Colombian capital.