This weekend brought in the start of official festivities for the Barranquilla Carnival, with its folkloric beats, arranged dances and armies of colors and costumes flooding the streets of the coastal Colombian city.
Saturday’s Battle of Flowers parade marked the opening of the annual celebration, this year celebrating its tenth anniversary as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity event. Tuesday is the end of formal programming, though public schools receive as much as two weeks of vacation, and the festival drags on long after the official events are over.
On Sunday, some 250 groups closed out the weekend with cumbia, congo, garabato, champeta, vallenato and mapale musical performances, among others, in the Great Traditional Parade.
The Great Troupes Parade, known for the unusual masks that accompany it, will take to the streets Monday, when the Orchestra Festival will also be paying tribute to the late Colombian vallenato singer Diomedes Diaz with a symphony of merengue, tropical and vallenato dance tunes.
The “Joselita Carnaval” burial scene symbolizes the “death” of the carnival, in a tragicomic representation of the Joselita character, who every year is “resuscitated” as the carnival begins on Saturday, only to die once again of drunkenness on the last day of the festival.