Hola amigos! This past weekend I had a very enriching experience with no cameras. Only to myself: The Carnival in Barranquilla, Colombia.
I took a few vacations to go to one of the most famous Carnivals in the world: El Carnaval de Barranquilla. But I would love to share with you this fascinating and unique culture Barranquilla has.
Colombia was the first country I visited when I travelled abroad for the first time. And I arrived in Barranquilla! It was my first time getting on a plane too so you must imagine the mix of feelings I had when that happened (12 years ago).
At that time, I discovered what I didn't even imagine existed: A vibrant city with a lot of influence from African-Colombian culture. Little did I know that one of the most significant contributions of the African-Colombian culture is its music. It's energetic, it's lively, and it's full of rhythm.
This influence made me have a great time in Barranquilla and I even fell in love there! I loved dancing champeta (Champeta was the music that originated in Colombia by Afro-descendants) or salsa. I remember going to "la tiendita" and people were always playing salsa, champeta or vallenato music. It was also common to see people dancing every weekend on the streets to the rhythms they loved.
This weekend I came to the Carnival and... what an experience!!
The Carnival of Barranquilla claims to be the second large carnival in Latin America. African-Colombian music and dances are an essential part of Barranquilla's carnival, which is considered one of the most important cultural events in Colombia.
The carnival is a celebration of life, and it's a time when people come together to celebrate their culture and heritage. I know that won't be a surprise but this feeling is really present everywhere. It's the time when I can talk with whoever I want and they will always be so open to having a nice conversation with me.
The parade is one element that makes this carnival special because it represents the people's heritage and how prevalent the African-Colombian culture is. This is all great but what it's more shocking and enriching is to truly enjoy with them listening to their music and dancing on the streets at night!
Dancing on the streets with the Colombian people, drinking "guaro" (aguardiente), sharing it with people you won't probably see again; throwing flour to a stranger and getting a smile in turn. This is what makes this experience unique and unforgettable.
Another significant aspect of the African-Colombian culture in Barranquilla is its food.
African-Colombian cuisine is rich in flavors and spices. Some of the popular dishes include sancocho, arroz con coco, and pescado frito.
African-Colombian culture has also played a vital role in shaping Barranquilla's history.
The African-Colombian people have been a part of Barranquilla since its inception, and their contributions have been essential in shaping the city's culture and identity.
Today, the African-Colombian culture continues to thrive in Barranquilla, and it's passed down from generation to generation.
My heart is full by what I could see and my words aren't enough to describe what I felt so the only thing I would like to tell you is that if you have the opportunity to come to the Carnival, come with a very open mind. This is the key to feeling the true essence of the carnival that not many people can find when they have expectations.