Christmas in February

Jan 23, 2020

Quinamayó celebrates Christmas every February 16 for more than 150 years. This town in the department of Valle del Cauca, Colombia, has a slave past, in which Afros had to attend their masters in December and could not organize their own parties.

It is then that they decided to perform the festivities when it gets completed 45 days of the diet that the Virgin Mary kept after childbirth.

Currently, Christmas is celebrated with inhabitants disguised as characters from the Bible, but also wearing traditional Colombian Pacific costumes, actions that are accompanied with music and dance from Quinamayó.

Two children disguised as Virgin Mary and The Star of Bethlehem dance in the middle of a procession.
Two children disguised as Virgin Mary and The Star of Bethlehem dance in the middle of a procession.
One of the matriarchs of Quinamayó participates in the creed of a Catholic mass, an activity that stars the festivities. Women are leaders in the town, especially in the organization of Christmas.
One of the matriarchs of Quinamayó participates in the creed of a Catholic mass, an activity that stars the festivities. Women are leaders in the town, especially in the organization of Christmas.
 A novice prays during the mass that presides over Christmas. Although the festivities maintain certain customs of the Catholic Church, the Afro-descendent identity and the fact that Quinamayó is a town of liberated slaves takes center stage.
A novice prays during the mass that presides over Christmas. Although the festivities maintain certain customs of the Catholic Church, the Afro-descendent identity and the fact that Quinamayó is a town of liberated slaves takes center stage.
 The celebration is not only religious, but also it is a party where there are childish games, liquor and a lot of food.
The celebration is not only religious, but also it is a party where there are childish games, liquor and a lot of food.
 Hundreds congregated in the central square of Quinamayó to honor the Virgin Mary.
Hundreds congregated in the central square of Quinamayó to honor the Virgin Mary.
 The musical band is essential for Christmas. It is made up of young people specialized in wind instruments, who prepare all year to perform traditional Quinamayó music every February 16.
The musical band is essential for Christmas. It is made up of young people specialized in wind instruments, who prepare all year to perform traditional Quinamayó music every February 16.
 During the procession, there are a lot of children also disguised as angels.
During the procession, there are a lot of children also disguised as angels.
The godmothers, two girls wearing pink dresses, lead the procession.
The godmothers, two girls wearing pink dresses, lead the procession.
The route has a many stations (house) where are the central characters and dancers of the celebration.
The route has a many stations (house) where are the central characters and dancers of the celebration.
A man from Quinamayó detonates a ‘volador’. Firework plays an important function in the parties.
A man from Quinamayó detonates a ‘volador’. Firework plays an important function in the parties.

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