A Brief Taste of Colombia: A Country of Great Diversity

Que Pasa Calgary! July 20 is a momentous day. It marks the independence of the people of Colombia, which took place in 1810. Prior to that time, the country had been under Spanish rule. In honor of the holiday, we thought that we’d take a cursory look at the various aspects of Colombia’s culture:

History & Tradition

Colombia has a rich, long history that has been influenced by the Caribbean, African and Spanish people. As such, their traditions are very diverse and vary based on geographic regions. Those regions include the coastal areas, the Andes Mountains, llanos and the rainforests.

Festivals & Clothing

Because of the diverse influences, Colombia is home to a cavalcade of festivals. One of them is the two-day long Wind and Kite Festival. It takes place in August. Some of the other colorful festivals on offer throughout the year are the Carnaval de Barranquilla, the Festival Nacional de Joropo and the Ibaque Folk Festival.

During the festivals, traditional Colombian dress is often worn. Among them are colorful skirts (la pollera colora), capes (ruana) and hats (sombrero vueltiao). Materials used in the residents’ customary dress include wool, leather and sisal.

Music & Dance

The festival attendees also spend time dancing to traditional music. The dances and music are as varied as the festivals themselves. However, it is not uncommon to experience music genres known as bambuco, currulao, joropo, vallenato and cumbia. Instruments often used in the making of Colombian music are drums, guitars, marimba de chontas and the guasa. The guasa is similar to a maraca. 


Food & Beverages

Colombia’s cuisine is particularly noteworthy as well. It varies by region too. One of the more popular dishes is the bandeja paisa. It typically consists of a mouth-watering melody of chorizo, red beans, plantains, rice and fried eggs. Many people also like to add chicharron and avocado to the dish. Popular beverages in the region are mazamorra, aguardiente, wine, coffee and beer.

Places to Go

Lastly, let’s talk a little bit about some of Colombia’s tourist attractions. There are so many to choose from. Ones that tend to be exceptionally popular are the archaeological parks like San Agustin and Tierradentro. San Agustin’s big draw is its massive monoliths. Other great activities to enjoy while in Colombia are extreme sports, swimming and relaxing on sun-drenched beaches.

Of course that is just a small glimpse of Colombia’s wonders. To learn more, visit the QPasa Calgary website. We feature news, stories and information about cultural events located all across Calgary.