A Colombian Christmas


Irma lighting candles like we do at mid autumn festival..

Colombians are CRAZY about Christmas! Their love of Christmas may make the Europeans or their northern counterparts ashamed. They like the most techno and hyperactive light effects in neon blue and white for decorating the facades of their houses, and the lights are religiously turned on every day at 5pm. Colombians’ excessive obsession with lights is perhaps explained by the profound symbolism of life and rebirth that igniting the lights seems to exude, or perhaps it’s fueled by a successful tourist campaign propelled by the government..

Because major cities like Bogotá and Medellin are already overloaded by such heavy weight presence of lights by the people, in order to make a bigger significance of the day, governments emblazon the cities with spectacular pyrotechnic works on the 8th of December. This is the official day when candles are lit to celebrate the Day of the Immaculate Conception of Virgin Mary. The tradition can be traced back to 1854 when a pope in Colombia decided to start the custom. Towns like Villa de Leyva are flocked with tourists on this day since the name ‘La Noche de las Velitas’ – ‘the night of candles’ was coined by the government in 1986. It’s also the day that marks the beginning of Christmas.

In the modern days of the zealots, the official day of putting up Christmas decorations and lights has been moved back to the 1st of December. On the first day of December, shopping malls erect their Christmas trees and put up the Christmas decorations. Office workers put up Christmas charms on their ceilings. Households embellish the facades of their houses with flashing lights (check the videos!!). And when you pass by the apartment buildings you will see a Christmas tree in every single one of the flats! The sight is amazing. Bogotá at night and by the day is completely different because of the blazing lights.

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5 comments

  1. sounds very interesting…most impressive christmas light experience was in toronto…all the houses try to compete w/ each other which one has the best decoration…

    1. Yes it’s exactly like that! So Canadian Christmas is similar? Must go!

  2. love the vids!!!

    1. Great.. Happy you like! Have you seen the bulldog vids?

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