For those who aren’t completely worn out by Colombia’s extensive
holiday season, there’s still a lot more to be danced and drunk in
January. The season for the regional fiestas and ferias has begun.
It’s hard to imagine where the Colombians get the energy to continue partying after a full month of Christmas, but they do seem to pull it off quite easily every single year. January is a month filled with festivities in many towns and cities that are well worth the visit if you’re near or if you want something different.
Pasto carnaval | January 2 until January 7
The Pasto carnaval is one of the most famous in Colombia and official Colombian cultural heritage. Pasto is one of the cities in the south of Colombia where not many tourists go. It’s cold and located in the troubled Nariño department, bordering Ecuador.
The carnaval consists of numerous parades.
Two of Pasto’s parades are very typical and hard to imagine to be held in any other part of the world. On January 5th it’s the Carnaval de Negros (Carnaval of the blacks), a day and parade dedicated to the liberation of the slaves and filled with Afrocolombian dances, art and rites.
The following day, January 6 is the day of the Carnaval de Blancos (Carnaval of the whites), a day dedicated to the white Pastuzos who have different cultural heritages to show. The carnaval is widely considered one of the best parties of Colombia
Cartagena bullfighting festival | January 2 until January 6
Colombia’s most famous tourist destination is home to a festival dedicated to the cultural tradition inherited from the Spanish, the bullfighting. Bullfighters from both Colombia and other parts of the world take part in one of Colombia’s biggest bullfighting festivals. Mind you, this is obviously not suitable for those who don’t like seeing animals in pain.
Feria de Manizales | January 3 until January 10
Another festival well worth the visit should be that of Manizales. The air of the city, located 200 kilometers north west of Bogotá, will not just be filled with the music of dozens bands and orchestras, it even knew to get Colombian hero Juanes to come for the final day.
Other musical stars to perform are reggaeton duo Wisin y Yandel, salsa king Marc Anthony, Bogotá’s best salsaband La 33 and Colombian popular singer Jhonny Rivera.
Correleja de Sincelejo | January 20 until January 25
De corraleja of Sincelejo, together with Barranquilla’s carnaval is the most famous of all festivals in the north of Colombia. The corraleja involves dozens of bulls and an even larger number of drunk Sincelejanos running around it trying to pick it. Even more than Cartagena’s bullfighting festival it’s absolutely not meant for animal lovers, but definitely one of the best kept traditions of Colombian coastal culture.
The preparation of the corralejo start in December when construction workers start building the temporary bullring used for the festival and the several rounds of bull “taming” last a number of days.