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9 interesting things you should know about the world’s second-largest carnival celebration

The Rio and Nottingham carnivals may readily come to mind as far as carnivals go, but Colombia’s El Carnaval de Barranquilla equally holds its own attracting millions of revelers throughout its duration.

El Carnaval de Barranquilla is a spectacular display of Colombian customs and colors, with a Caribbean twist.

A 4-day festival which holds the Saturday before Ash Wednesday, this year’s festival ran from February 6th through to February 9th and saw a 600,000-strong crowd on its first day this year.

Here are 9 interesting things you should know about the Colombian festival.



  1. Boasting traditions which date back to the 19th century, El Carnaval de Barranquilla is Colombia’s most important folklore celebration and one of the biggest carnival in the world.

  2. The festival takes place 40 days before Holy Week and sees some elements of African influence like with the African congo dance.

  3. On November 7, 2003, UNESCO declared the carnival as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

  4. (CNN)

    Barranquilla’s Carnival slogan is – Who lives it, is who enjoys it (Quien lo vive, es quien lo goza).

  5. The carnival queen and king are chosen at the end of the previous year so that they have time to prepare themselves. Also, whoever is the queen or the king must have taken part in the carnival since childhood and is well known for his carnival spirit.

  6.  Barranquilla organisers claim it is the world’s second-largest carnival celebration, behind Rio.

  7. (CNN)

    According to Carla Celia, director of the Carnaval de Barranquilla, the event attracts 1.5 million revelers throughout the carnival’s duration. Also hotels reach 98% occupancy and the city creates 20,000 direct and indirect jobs.

  8. Festival organisers say what makes the festival unique is the “13 different musical expressions” that, even if from African or other roots, are imbued with Colombian colors and flare.

  9. This year, performers in full costume parodied the Zika outbreak, El Chapo, late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavezand even Pope Francis.


Written by PH

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