The first official ceremony in Colombia to mark the passing of the Nobel-winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez was held in Bogota‘s Cathedral Tuesday morning.
The ceremony was led by Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos, who attended with his family, various members of the Colombian government and past presidents of the country. The writer’s widow, Mercedes Barcha, and his two sons, Rodrigo and Gonzalo, were not in attendance.
All the political representatives followed the trend typical from ‘Gabo’ of wearing a yellow flower in their lapels. Garcia Marquez was often seen wearing one as he considered them to be good luck, even noting a yellow flower was an indispensable part of his daily writing ritual, according to the Colombian branch of the Terra news network.
The cathedral itself was also decorated with yellow roses and yellow paper butterflies; an homage to the same details made famous in the writer’s “One Hundred Years of Solitude.”
The musicians of the orchestra wore yellow butterflies pinned to their black suits and their lecterns, and opened the ceremony by performing an interpretation of Mozart’s Requiem, which received a standing ovation requested by Santos.
They then performed a popular vallenato musical piece named “the house in the air” by Rafael Escalona, who was also a great friend of Garcia Marquez. The piece provided the “party mood” that Garcia Marquez described in an unfinished story, in which he foresaw his death and a subsequent funeral procession that was filled with revelry.
Despite a rain storm, hundreds of Colombians were also in attendance outside the cathedral in Bogota’s Plaza Bolivar, watching the ceremony live on big screens.
This ceremony was the first in a series of events to commemorate the “most admired and beloved” of Colombians, as said by Santos on April 17, the day of Garcia Marquez’s death.