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Colombia’s Barranquilla Carnival is Second to None


We recently teamed up with ‘Rewriting the Map‘ at the Barranquilla Carnival and this will be the first of a few articles and photographs that they will sharing while they explore the beauty of Colombia.

The coastal paradise of Barranquilla, Colombia offers an unparalleled peek into Caribbean tradition. For a week in February, Barranquilla opens its doors and welcomes the world, throwing a genuine, and one of a kind show, an event not to beaten, anywhere.

A reveler in a patriotic lion costume. RewritingtheMap/Emanuel Echeverri

A reveler in a patriotic lion costume / Rewriting the Map/Emanuel Echeverri

Color and spectacle take hold during Carnaval, and this siesta from all things “normal.” Carnaval throws the city off its axis and into a permanent party overdrive, firmly rooted in the past traditions and origins of its people, cultures, ecology, and history.  Months of preparation and anticipation by the people of Barranquilla, fuel this non-stop celebration. The time adds up to a weeklong, painted, studded, and dressed up bender. Impossible without its people, Carnaval is designed to celebrate their own Costanio existence, their home, and the immense pride they share for one another.

A group showing off for the crowd their costumes during the Batalla de Flores. RewritingtheMap/Emanuel Echeverri

A group showing off for the crowd their costumes during the Batalla de Flores / Rewriting the Map/Emanuel Echeverri

One of the many Batalla de Flores floats, built Carnival experts and an essential part of the first parade. Rewriting the Map/Emanuel Echeverri

One of the many Batalla de Flores floats, built Carnival experts and an essential part of the first parade / Rewriting the Map/Emanuel Echeverri

Taking part isn’t only encouraged, but assumed.  Participants are always welcomed into the never-ending, spell bounding precession. Just follow along you’ll learn the way. Take refuge in hotels and eat hearty, as the continuous party spills onto the streets, at all hours. Without a dark place to curl up in the heat of the day Carnival can wear you down. You’re never far from a good time, and the rhythm will always find you again; even when it’s least expected.  Dress boldly and wear good shoes, the more comfortable you are the longer you can go without quitting. The gyration of sweaty and anonymous bodies will always pull you back into the pool of music, good food and drink. Fun is the name of the game here, in order to take part, be prepared to leave all inhibitions aside.

Two dancers perform for the crowd during Noche de Tambo, the night before Carnival’s first parade. RewritingtheMap/Emanuel Echeverri

Two dancers perform for the crowd during Noche de Tambo, the night before Carnival’s first parade / Rewriting the Map/Emanuel Echeverri

Traditional Cumbia dress- a staple of Barranquilla’s Carnival- RewritingtheMap/Emanuel Echeverri

Traditional Cumbia dress- a staple of Barranquilla’s Carnival / Rewriting the Map/Emanuel Echeverri

From the kick-off, Carnaval’s ancestral garb mixes with intoxicating rhythm, in a powerful way. The city pulls out all of the stops. Standing aside and not dancing along in the movement and rhythm becomes an impossibility. For this one-week, travelers are able to see everything Barranquilla has to offer. The city is on display and at its most bold. Communal dances, designed to demonstrate a shared history of colonialism and slavery, mesmerize on lookers, bringing a smile to the faces of young and old alike. Carnival is an opportunity to see Barranquilla from its beginnings through to its present and into the future.

The queen of Carnival wears several different customs made for the festivities. RewritingtheMap/Emanuel Echeverri

The queen of Carnival wears several different customs made for the festivities / Rewriting the Map/Emanuel Echeverri

Carnaval is a recognition and celebration for the people of Barranquilla. As they remember their origins and their heritage they look forward into the future. Culturally, Carnaval is a time for embracing community, history, and a shared story. The people of Barranquilla shine a light on their home and their pride. It is not to be scrutinized, but embraced and appreciated. Carnival is a tradition of generations past, and Barranquilla invites all to come and look back through time.

Detailed costumes are a common site during the various parades. RewritingtheMap/Emanuel Echeverri

Detailed costumes are a common site during the various parades / Rewriting the Map/Emanuel Echeverri

The Fantasia (Fantasy) Parade can be said to be the most colorful of all the events. RewritingtheMap/Emanuel Echeverri

The Fantasia (Fantasy) Parade can be said to be the most colorful of all the events / Rewriting the Map/Emanuel Echeverri

Prepare to cut the cord to all things known previously. Come into the Caribbean coast, fall into the canvas of flashed colors and shaking hips, and don’t look back. Carnaval cannot be done half way. Embrace the party and drink in the culture, in this the most festive of times. Carnival is waiting, if you’re willing to go along for the ride.

Fire breathers during the many parades are always a crowd favorite. RewritingtheMap/Emanuel Echeverri

Fire breathers during the many parades are always a crowd favorite / Rewriting the Map/Emanuel Echeverri

While Barranquilla’s Carnival has one main road shut for Parade’s there are many that occur all throughout the cities neighborhoods. RewritingtheMap/Emanuel Echeverri

While Barranquilla’s Carnival has one main road shut for Parade’s there are many that occur all throughout the cities neighborhoods / Rewriting the Map/Emanuel Echeverri

Rewriting the MapRewriting the Map organizes story tellers. Our goal is to give glimpses into the world otherwise unseen. We look for the beauty around us all, while looking past the stereotypes that separate us from one another. We know that without changing your own perspective, we cannot hope to know another. Follow along with us, on our next journey, as we continue to look at the world through the eyes of all humanity.

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