Colombian culture is a blend of its many and varied roots and there are many aspects to its customs and traditions that are unique to its shores, and which captivate the thousands of visitors who travel to Colombia every year.
Parties and festivals
Colombia enjoys up to 18 long weekends every year, an incredible number of holiday Mondays offering residents and visitors the chance to travel, party and celebrate whatever Saint or historical event the long weekend commemorates. More often than not, a long weekend or ‘holiday Monday’ will coincide with a legendary Colombian festival and no trip to Colombia would be complete without sampling one of those. Visitors can pick between the colorful Barranquilla Carnival, the , the Vallenato Legend Festival, the Cali Fair, Pasto’s Black and White Carnival, Huila’s Bambuco Pageant and Folkloric Festival, Cartagena’s Hay literary festival and many more.
The Pot Gathering (El Paseo de Olla)
One important custom or tradition in Colombian culture, which is particularly popular in rural areas is the ‘Pot Gathering’. This much-loved ritual encourages Colombian families to gather beside their local river, and share the traditional Colombian dish: sancocho This typical stew mixes chicken, pork or beef rib with plantain, potato, corn-on-the-con, cassava, tomato and cilantro, served with rice and avocado. The purpose of the ‘Pot Gathering’ picnic is to reunite family and friends to share their successes, celebrate special occasions or just have an excuse to bring everyone together.
Traditional ‘grandmother’ remedies
Colombian culture dictates that there is a cure for every ailment and visitors will often be offered a traditional ‘ if they suffer any woes. These timeless customs include hierbabuena or spearmint teas for aches and pains, and a chamomile concoction when you cannot sleep. Another favorite is the gel from aloe vera, a plant which grows across Colombia, for scrapes, sunburn and even dandruff and boiled calendula for inflammation, wounds and scarring. The best-loved Colombian custom of all is aguapanela (made from concentrated cane syrup) which is every Colombian grandmother’s favorite tradition when it comes to curing a cold, sore throat or a bad attack of the blues.
Christmas and holiday customs
Colombian culture’s customs and traditions will always ensure a very festive season. The most typical Colombian Christmas traditions include eating natilla (a custard dish resembling a flan) and buñuelos (fried dough balls) and attending a Novena de Aguinaldos, when families come together to eat, sing carols (villancicos) and recite a set of prayers. The novena is prayed and hosted in a different home of a family member or friend on each of the nine nights before Christmas, in honor of the Virgin Mary, St Joseph, the Wise Men and Baby Jesus who sought shelter in a different place each night.
Colombians are famous for expressing their emotions through dance and . Visitors to the country will discover a rhythm for every occasion, from family gatherings to the moments when the national soccer team exceeds expectations on the global stage. Those on holiday or vacation in Colombia should definitely , anything from a few steps of Colombia’s world beating salsa or cheeky cumbia to a quick vallenato or even joropo, because Colombian culture really does provide a beat for every moment.
Why not immersing yourself in Colombia’s customs and traditions, next time you visit this unique and wonderful country?