The sun is hot and shining its brightest rays, it is the annual Flower Festival in Medellin and the streets are buzzing with locals and visitors from afar all trying to find a good spot along the far stretching street prepared for the yearly tradition of the Silletero parade.
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After struggling to find a good viewing point some friendly locals approach me and offer me an excellent spot next to them on a grassy patch right next to where the parade will pass by. This is where I will spend the next couple of hours enjoying one of the most colorful and delightful traditions I have seen yet!
The Silletero parade comes by every year when the Antioquia department of Colombia begins to bloom more abundantly with flowers of all colors, shapes and sizes. Due to the local tradition, children, adults and elderly march along the streets with wooden contraptions strapped to their backs, the smaller resembling something like a chair such as what the children and woman carry, where as the larger ones are circular and big enough to take over the greater length of the adult man carrying it creating them to lean over more in the process.
The wooden contraptions called ‘Silleteros’ are decorated and adorned with hundreds of flowers, some creating incredible and slightly unbelievable images from cultural symbolic expressions to local and national business logos. This tradition was born from a time when the people of this department would carry people up the hills with chairs on their backs and return loaded up with flowers and other such goods such as harvests and crops.
The job of carrying the Silleteros does by no means look easy, as the hot weather pulsates through the city the Silletero carriers have a long walk, with many people along the way offering refreshing drinks of water for them to rehydrate. As I watch them pass, the floral smells overwhelm me with a sweet summery feeling, helicopters pass over every 20 minutes or so and spill out millions of rose petals to the crowds below.
People go wild with joy and at some occasions stand up in awe to the sight of a particular Silletero passing which excels in its beauty skill or size. The Silletero carriers often twirl around so that all can see their abundant load and every now and then for the large circular Sillterero the carrier will place the Silletero on the ground to walk to the side and bow.
In between these colorful and flowery moments are dancers and musicians of all types. Dancing, parading, and playing with the crowd. It is hard not to smile and grin continually at the passing of all involved in this incredible display and celebration!
The Flower Fair is not only one of the biggest occasions in Medellin but in the country and during the week there are parades, events and competitions in full action with something to be found to do every day of the week for everybody’s taste. The weather is deliciously warm amongst the evergreen lush vegetation spread through out the city. The people are inviting and incredibly friendly, fashion lovers will enjoy the country’s fashion capital with a selection of top designers to choose from and the gastronomic selections of fusion, typical or international cuisine will tantalize your taste buds!
Don’t miss out on exciting city of Medellin! And the annual Flower Festival couldn’t be a better excuse to go!
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