By Jeimmy Paola Sierra
Santa Elena, Colombia, Aug 7 (EFE).- After a gap in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, over 250 children in the Colombian city of Medellin on Saturday lined up carrying beautiful flower arrangements for the 23rd Silleteritos (little florists) parade.
For the Santa Elena suburb of the city, the resumption of the parade was an emotional movement as the new generation gets introduced to the flower tradition.
“For us, for the children and all the residents of Santa Elena, it was a moment of resurgence after so much uncertainty and pain for many families. This is a voice of hope,” the president of the Florists’ Guild of Santa Elena, Federico Alzate, told EFE.
He said that the event, the curtain-raiser for Medellin’s Flower Festival that will take place between Aug. 12-22, seeks to give the children a chance to “fall in love with what it means to be a florist, a farmer, and what it means to carry forward a cultural heritage of the nation.”
Shouts of “turn around” by the public greeted the children aged between 4-12, dressed as old-time flower-carriers, as people tried to get a better look at the ornate flower arrangements,
The silleteros (flower carriers) carried messages about the environment and preserving the tradition, but some were also designed as Disney characters and others carried slogans like “hopes flourish where flowers bloom.”
Nine-year-old Matias Londona, attending the parade for the eighth time, was carrying a traditional arrangement mainly made of flowers from his grandmother’s farm.
“It has Arum-lilies, Alstroemeria (Peruvian lilies) and daisies,” he explained while touching his creation.
“I invite you to the Flower Festival. Santa Elena is the land of flowers and heritage,” the shy boy said with encouragement from his aunt.
The city of Medellin has already set the mood for the 64th edition of the Flower Festival, which has a theme of “celebrating life” this year to highlight the country’s resilience in the face of the pandemic, the organizers said.
The organizers expect over 2,000 visitors to arrive by air every day, and are hoping for a footfall of around 27,000 during the 10-day event, which will be held across 28 venues hosting cultural programs, concerts, exhibition and other activities based on “flower magic.”
The Silleteros parade, held as the final event of the festival, will return to Medellin with 500 people carrying gigantic flower arrangements prepared by their families from flowers that are grown around the year in local farms.
However, for the first time the parade will be held in the Atanasio Girardot stadium in order to prevent crowding on the streets and maintain certain restrictions, with the number of spectators limited to 6,000 and those above the age of 40 required to carry an anti-Covid vaccination certificate. EFE