When it comes to parties or fiestas the latinos are 2nd to none. They love a good party and like to make it last as long as they can. Colombia is one such country that is good for a party. Among the many fiestas in Colombia, like the popular fiestas of Blancos y Negros in Pasto and La Feria de Calí; Barranquilla is the largest. The special twist of this carnival is that it recognised by UNESCO as a Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
The Carnival of Barranquilla in Colombia, takes place an area that is known to have the most relaxed, fun-loving and party loving people. An area known as la Costa, whose inhabitants are called the Costeños often heard as “Lo Cotenyo”. The city is that which raised such Colombian beauties as Sofia Vergara and Shakira both having hips that don’t lie.
Although it officially starts on the Saturday before Ash Wednesday, the life in Barranquilla is said to be one big carnival.
The party really starts with the month-long Christmas celebration. Orchestras playing vallenato cruise through the streets and get the locals into a party frenzy. It amps up on Christmas and the locals tend to party for 3 days. Unofficially the festivities start with the festivities of the New Year. Other parties called precarnival, are the crowning of the Queen of the carnival, the crowning of King Momo the king of the carnival, la Lectura del Bando a declaration of the opening of the festivities, followed by the Taking Over of the City, the Coronation of the Queen, the Carnival of the children, the Gay Parade and most importantly the Guacherna, a great party of cumbia dancing, costumes and parades on the Friday before Carnival.
As a carnival it traces its origin to a party before fasting for Easter. The special feature with this Carnival is the patchwork of folklore and music that it brings together from all of Colombia. Unlike in Rio which is essentially a samba based theme party, Barranquilla is recognised because it displays many different styles of music from what is a musical rich country. The carnival is a celebration of all the popular music from the Caribbean coast of Colombia. It is also because this music brings such a multicultural diversity to the fore.
Each music genre has its costumes and people. Cumbia one of the dances which traces its origin from Colombia is the most popular in this region. From Colombia it has spread through all of Latin America. Mapelé is a type of music mostly popular from the black community, from the far corner of the Caribbean coast, with the adjacent Pacific Coast. Chandé another style of music came about from a mixture of native Indian and black people who uses drums, flutes and flutes performed by travelling orchestras. Another important cross cultural type of music is the popular vallenato, which has fused the music from the indigenous, african slaves and europeans to form a music, which brings all Colombians together.
For this big reason the Carnival of Barranquilla has attained its status as not only a Carnival but one of cultural, folkloric significance to its country and the rest of the world. Other types of music the porro, bullerengue, pajarito, merecumbé, guaracha, jalao, salsa, merengue. While salsa and merengue are not native to Colombia, they have been adopted by Colombia, and in certain regions of the country are the most popular forms of music in the region, but also remain popular in most regions, and in the case of salsa, Colombia’s contribution to the music is significant.
The carnival goers dress up in costumes traditional to Colombia, whether it be music orientated with the white shirt and pants, and a Sombrero Vuelltiao, or the popular Marimondo
Strangely enough even the most party hardy must bring their festivities to a conclusion. Upon the burial of the famous Joselito Carnival, and the crowd crying over the death of joselito, the Barranquilleros with their guyabos- hangover, give in to the fasting of Lent and think about the great times that they had, and the next party in December.
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For those who speak Spanish this is a great song from Cuco Valoy telling about what really goes on at the Carnival and the Fruits of the Carnival which are the children born from the various couples who meet at the Carnival