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Colombian Holidays and Festivals


These are Colombia’s national holidays. Those marked with an asterisk (*) are celebrated on the nearest Monday and known as a puente (a three-day holiday weekend). On most holidays, expect processions and other events. These are times when many Colombians take a break; hotel and transportation prices increase substantially and reservations should be made.


January 1—New Year’s Day

* January 6—Epiphany (Day of the Three Kings)

* March 19—San José—To honor husbands and fathers

March / April—Semana Santa (Thursday and Friday before Easter Sunday)—The most renowned observances are in Popayán and Mompós

May 1—Primero de Mayo (Labor Day)

* May 15—Ascención de Jesús (Ascent of Christ)

* June 10—Sagrado Corazón (Sacred Heart)

* June 29—San Pablo y San Pedro—Celebrated with flair in Neiva (which has a national bambuco dance festival) and in coastal communities

July 20—Declaration of Independence

August 7—Battle of Boyacá—To observe the decisive battle against the Spanish crown, in 1819

* August 15—Asunción de la Virgen María (Feast of the Assumption)

* October 12—Descubrimiento de América (Columbus Day)

* November 1—Día de Todos los Santos (All Saints Day)

* November 11—Independencia de Cartagena (Independence of Cartagena)

* December 8—Inmaculada Concepción (Immaculate Conception)

December 25—Navidad (Christmas)—Be sure to check out Bogotá's special festival in Parque Bolívar. Updated: May 11,2011.


If secular and non-patriotic celebrations are more your style, Colombia has plenty of festivals to offer where you can experience traditions and culture:

January 5 & 6—Carnaval de Blanco y Negro—A huge powder and grease-tossing parade celebrated in Pasto and other southern Colombia towns.

February/March (moveable feast)—Carnaval—The big party is in Barranquilla, but also check it out in any Caribbean town or in Tumaco, on the Pacific coast.

February/ March—Festival Internacional de Cine de Cartagena de Indias —One of Latin America’s most prestigious film festivals.

March/April—Festival Iberoamericano de Teatro—A huge, biennial theater festival in Bogotá, drawing troupes from around the world.

April – Festival de Poesía de Medellín—One of the most important international poetry gatherings in Latin America.

Last week of April—Festival de la Leyenda Vallenata—Vallenato music rocks Valledupar.

May—Festival de la Cultura Wayuu—Wayuu culture is highlighted at this annual festival held in Uribia in the Guajira.

Mid-July—Festival Internacional de la Confraternidad Amazónica—Annual international gathering of Amazonian indigenous nations in Leticia.

Mid-October—Encuentro Mundial de Coleo—rodeo competitions down on the Llanos, in Villavicencio (the women’s rodeo is in March).

December —Festival de Cine Mompox—Another film festival to round out the year.