When slavery existed in Colombia more than 170 years ago, Quinamayó’s ancestors were not allowed to celebrate any cultural expressions that where also celebrated by their slavers. Many traditions were adapted and resignified by them as a way of expressing dignity and resistance. So for Christmas, they decided to make their own celebration 45 days after the traditional date of the birth of Jesus Christ with their own modified rituals based on the catholic celebration and their african rituals in an expression of religious syncretism that has lasted for years.
For example, the ‘Juga’ is one of them: it is a native rhythm that uses wind and brass instruments, and that is danced with the feet dragged and the hands behind the back to symbolize the slave repression of which they were victims. Or for example there is the mission that people have of not letting their Afro roots die in the new generations, for which the professors teach an ‘Afro Cathedra’ in the village school.
This on-going project aims to make the historical celebrations of Quinamayó visible to contribute to an aspiration that the community has had for decades: that it’s Christmas celebration could be recognized as Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Nation in Colombia.