Barranquilla, Colombia, Feb 10 (EFE).- Barranquilla Carnival began Saturday with the Battle of Flowers, a 4-kilometer parade in which 11,000 participants delight more than 50,000 attendees along the Cumbiódromo.
Folk and modern music, traditional and contemporary dance, massive troupes, collective and individual costumes, queens and showbiz artists, national and international orchestras, elaborately decorated floats and riots of color showed off the diversity of the carnival, which was 20 years ago declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by Unesco, in a parade that has been held for more than a century.
“I’ve been going out to dance at the Battle of Flowers since I was 13 years old and I’m 20 now. Almost my entire life has been dedicated to carnival,” Alberto Ruiz, a business administrator who right now has put aside his profession to dedicate herself to dancing in a troupe of which six other family members are a part.
The splendor of the Battle of Flowers included 18 floats made by artisans who year after year are inspired by the traditional folk dances and rhythms of the Colombian Caribbean.
In addition to the 2024 Carnival Queen Melisa Cure and King Momo Juventino Ojito, Miss World Colombia Catalina Quintero, Miss Universe Colombia Camila Avella, Miss Grand International second runner-up María Alejandra López, as well as the actress Laura León, and Natalia Muñoz, queen of the Atlantic Carnival attended.
The Colombian Football Federation brought Colombian football stars such as Farid Mondragón, Luis Amaranto Perea, Arnoldo Iguarán, Óscar Córdoba, Willington Ortiz, René Higuita, Juan Pablo Ángel and Catalina Usme, among others.
The list of national and international artists included Carlos Vives, Eddie Herrera, Proyecto Uno, Mickey Taveras, Checo Acosta, Shekeré Orquesta, Gusi, Martina Camargo, Rafa Pérez, Óscar Prince, Lil Silvio & El Vega, Diego Daza and Son Mocaná, each one aboard a musical car to make the crowd dance.
“It’s fantastic how so many artists can perform in a single parade and that people can enjoy them,” Concepción García, a Spanish woman who lives in Cádiz and who was invited to attend the Barranquilla Carnival, told EFE. “It’s a unique experience, totally different from my city.”
Of the 11,000 people who took part in the parade, 2,127 were part of the collective and individual costumes that, in addition to showing lavish decorations that turn the street into a haute couture catwalk, parody current topics ranging from politics to sport.
The Battle of Flowers “revived” figures from national and international politics such as the late commanders of the former FARC guerrilla, Raúl Reyes and Jesús Santrich, Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, and the former presidents of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, and Venezuela, Hugo Chávez.
There were also people dressed as the current leaders of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, and Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who joined traditional characters such as Popeye. EFE