La Feria de Flores (The Festival of Flowers) occurs everyear in Medellín during the first weeks of August, and lasts for approximately 10 days. The festival offers visitors over 140 different traditional and modern cultural events such as: Feria Nacional Equina (National Horse Fair), Festival de Orquestas (Festival of Orchids), Festival Nacional de la Trova, desfile de carros clásicos y antiguos (Antique and classic car parade), caminata canina (dog walk), tablados musicales y culturales (free music performances/concerts), Festival del Recuerdo y de la Canción Popular (Festival of Memorial and Popular Song), Concurso de Mujeres Talento (Talent shows), caravana de chivas, Campeonato Nacional de Sonido sobre Ruedas (National Championship Sound on Wheels)and more!
La Feria de las Flores is one of Colombia's most important, and popular cultural events which brings together all of Antioquia (region of Colombia) and thousands of tourists to visit the city of Medellin, in a space filled with the flowers, joy, music and fun.
History of La Feria de Las Flores
The first Feria de Las Flores was held on the 1st of May in 1957 and lasted 5 days. A Paisa (person from Antioquia) named Arturo Uribe proposed a parade of silleteros (people who produce beautiful arrangements of flowers and carry them on their backs) as a way to offer something new to other Paisas as well as integrate the culture. So for this occasion, silleteros were invited from the village of Santa Elena where traditionally from generation to generation, were engaged in flower production. The invitation was accepted for forty silleteros and audiences loved the parade which displayed the beauty and colour of the flowers.
From that very first Festival of Flowers, the Desfile de los silleteros (Parade of Silleteros) has always been the most important event. Las silletas (saddles) are made of wood, with a back and two handles for hanging on the shoulders, ontop of the silletas are a beautiful array of flowers in different patterns, or designs.Las silletas were originally used in colonial times to transport people in the mountains of Antioquia. So ever year, men, women and children carry on their backs with much pride the representation of their lives, history, country and culture with the arrangements of flowers.
Some Facts about the Silletas
- A saddle can weigh up to 70 kg and be 5m in height with a similar diameter.
- The traditional saddles are made from about 25 types of flowers, but some containing up to more than 70 kinds of flowers.
- The flowers that are used in the creation of the saddles are: pinocchio, lilies, carnations, agapanthus, sparks, sun flowers, tulle bridal gladioli, carnations, roses and orchids.
- On special occasions, in the saddle you can find a selection of very wild flowers which are very fragile and require special care.
Here is a great video (though in Spanish) that will give you a preview of the kinds of events, sites and sounds one can expect in La Feria de las Flores !!!