Think You Know the Colombia’s Flower Festival? Think Again!

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With Holland being its only rival, Colombia is the world’s second-largest exporter of wildflowers for over 60 years. Most of its production is grown in the central north-western department of Antioquia. La Feria de las Flores or Festival of Flowers is celebrated annually in the city of Medellin, Colombia.

In May 1957, while the floral industry was starting to flourish, Arturo Uribe, a Medellin’s tourist bureau member suggested that to celebrate the success of the floral industry, they should host a “Fiesta de Flores” or Flower Party.

While the celebration consists of flower expositions in the Basilica Metropolitana Cathedral, local music performance and the Desfile de Silleteros in the previous years, the event now consists of massive concerts by well-known artists, classical car parades, art exhibitions, culinary classes and horse fairs.

Not only that, the celebration can last up to ten days, with each day filled with different events such as orchid expos, local music concerts, beauty pageants and firework displays. Some events that you should check out while there are the Trova competition (where two people battle each other with an improv singing session), the famous Metro Concierto de Conciertos, and the Chiva parade that celebrates Colombia’s colourful open-side buses.

On the last day, Desfile de Silleteros is the final act that will be mark the end of the ten day Flower Festival celebration. The word Silletero derives from “Silla” (“chair” in Spanish), and it is used to call the people who used wooden chairs to transport goods and even people on their backs from one place to another. This also applied to the flower vendors as they too carried huge amounts of flowers into the city of Medellin on their backs. During this event, silleteros or flower farmers will parade through the streets of Medellin with gigantic, intricate flower arrangements on their backs for the chance to be crowned with the most beautiful flower arrangement.

Flower farmer with his arrangement

While the Covid-19 pandemic has the struck the globe, crippling the world economy as well as several industries, this has not stopped La Feria de las Flores 2020. Although the Mayor of Medellin, Daniel Quintero Calle mentions that the celebration for this year will be different from the previous years, it will not be stopped as there is sufficient time to prepare the necessaries for the celebration. It is scheduled between 31st July 2020 to 8th August 2020.