Every year during the first days of August, Medellín is filled with flowers and parties for one of the most traditional celebrations in Colombia: the Flower Festival.
The Flower Festival is the city’s most important event, for it embodies all the values of the people of Antioquia. The festival lasts 10 days and it is part of the Colombian cultural heritage.
The Silleteros Pageant, the festival’s main event, began when Arturo Uribe Arango, from Medellín’s Office for the Promotion of Tourism, invited 40 silleteros from Santa Elena (Antioquia) to decorate the festival’s first edition in 1957.
Silletas are wooden pieces with handles that are filled with bounteous amounts of flowers and carried on people’s backs. Their origin goes as far back as to colonial times when they were used to carry people around the region’s mountains.
In the beginning of the XX Century they were used by peasants to carry flowers from Antioquia’s towns to Medellín, where they were sold. Although silletas are no longer used for commerce, they represent the region’s tradition.
A festival for everybody
The festival holds touristic activities such as the classic automobile parade, the National Equine Fair, the Troubadour National Festival, the Sound on Wheels Championship and the Orchestra Festival.
The festival’s 56th edition will hold 157 events, 500 activities and 15 concerts between August 2nd and August 11th.
Over 4.000 foreign tourists, 9.000 Colombian tourists from overseas and a grand total of 352.000 visitors are expected in 2013, according to Medellín Convention & Visitors Bureau. Fenalco predicts the activities will account for an additional 10 billion pesos in the city’s commerce.
Learn more about the festivals schedule and discover why when it comes to culture, the answer is Colombia.