If there’s one thing Colombians know how to do, it’s celebrate. From Baranquilla’s chaotic Carnival to Medellin‘s world famous Flower Festival, Colombian festivals are full of passion and excitement. And with the Colombian government promoting “religious tourism”, Easter in the Andean nation is no exception – although perhaps with slightly less aguardiente!
Cities and towns around the Andean nation are holding religious concerts, colorful processions, and spreads of local delicacies to celebrate the most important week in the Catholic calender.
This year, state-run Proexport Tourism are launching a brochure entitled “Roads of Faith,” which teaches tourists about Colombia’s rich religious history by outlining a route connecting the country’s chuches and important Catholic sites, according to Dinero.com.
“Easter is an important time to attract tourists to Colombia because of the long religious traditions, diversity of cultures and variety of churches,” said Vice President of Proexport Tourism, Nubia Stella Martinez.
Proexport’s target markets for the the promotion of religious tourism are Mexico, Spain, Italy, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Central American countries.
Visitors to Colombia’s capital can join Bogotanos’ pilgrimages up to Monserrate Cathedral, which affords church goers spectacular views over the city. Visitors will, however, have to make do with public transport as the steps are deemed too dangerous for the expected crowds.
The Colombian Philharmonic Orchestra, under the direction of Ricardo Jamarillo, will perform a series of “spiritual music” pieces on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday of the holy week.
The first will begin at 4:00pm on Wednesday at the Cathedral Primada, with additional performances at St. Ambrose Church and The Church of the Devine Child of July 20.
Throughout the city organizers are preparing family days out, with outdoor movies, dance shows, competitions for kids, and typical local dishes.
Many towns around the central Colombian department of Antioquia are hoping for a wave of “religious tourism” during the week, according to Caracol Radio.
- Live theatrical performances in Gomez Plata, La Pintada, Anza, Heliconia, Butilia, La Ceja, and Santa Fe de Antioquia.
- Colorful processions and venerations of the cross will commemorate the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in El Penol.
- The religious music festival in Marinilla from March 27 to April 3.
- Thousands of pilgrams are expected to converge upon the Church of San Jose in Angostura to bring offerings and prayers to the urn containing the mortal remains of Padre Mariano.
- The town of Santa Rosa de Osos, which has the slogan ‘350 years walking with Christ,’ is going to keep its stride with a week-long “community Easter,” filled with family activities that will culminate in the Feast of the Devine Mercy.
- San Pedro de los Milagros, whose Minor Basilica is known as “the Sistine Chapel of Antioquia” is also a major tourist drawcard during this festive holiday.
One of the most iconic cities in Colombia during Easter is the beautifully preserved northern colonial town of Mompox (also known as Mompos). Here the festivities focus on a time in their history when wealthy people donated jewelry to altars and shrines to atone for their sins.
Today colorful figures of saints adorned with jewels parade through the streets in long processions, commerating the death of Christ.
The place known to host the most spectacular Easter festivities, however, is the scenic town of Popayan. The processions of this Cauca department town are famous for their ornate religious statues which are slowly carried past the restored whitewashed buildings towards the Basilica de Nuestra Senora de la Asincion.
A week-long religious music festival rounds off the festive vibe in Popayan throughout the holy week of Easter.