The first official Colombian ceremony to pay homage to the writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who died Thursday in Mexico City aged 87, was set to take place in Bogota‘s Primary Cathedral at noon Tuesday.
Colombia’s Minister of Culture, Mariana Garces, announced that the decision to hold the ceremony was discussed directly between President Juan Manuel Santos and the family of Garcia Marquez, according to Colombia’s El Tiempo newspaper.
The proceedings will include a Mass and will be presided over by Ruben Salazar Gomez, Cardinal Archbishop of Bogota, but the ceremony itself won’t be religious, as Garcia Marquez reportedly “asked his family the day he died to not hold a religious ceremony,” according to a statement given by the Ambassador of Colombia in Mexico, Jose Gabriel Ortiz, to El Tiempo.
Owing to the author’s well-known love for music, the National Colombian Symphony Orchestra will perform Mozart’s Requiem with four soloists at the ceremony. A short speech from President Juan Manuel Santos will follow.
The whole ceremony will be available to watch on Colombia’s public television channels, with big screens showing the ceremony in front of the cathedral itself. Yellow butterflies, synonymous with ‘Gabo’ and his work, will be released in tribute.
Other cities around Colombia have also been commemorating the life of the Nobel-winning writer.
In Barranquilla, where Garcia Marquez lived and worked, a reading of ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ was held at the Departmental Public Library, alongside more yellow butterflies, while in Aracataca, the town where he was born in 1927, a symbolic burial and funerary procession took place at the same time of the official funeral in Mexico.
On Wednesday April 23, in conjunction with World Book Day, over 500 public libraries will hold readings of Garcia Marquez’s book, ‘No One Writes to the Colonel.’ Readings will also take place in public parks and squares, with the earlier free distribution of over 12,000 copies of the book around the country.
The nationwide reading event, named “Gabolectura”, was scheduled months in advance with the aim of celebrating language, but now the event stands as a fitting memorial for Colombians to celebrate the life and works of their most famous writer.
- Homenaje de Colombia a Gabriel García Márquez comienza este martes (El Tiempo)
- Este martes en la catedral de Bogotá comienzan homenajes oficiales a Gabo (El Espectador)
- #Gabolectura, un homenaje en voz alta a nuestro Premio Nobel (Biblioteca Nacional)