Christmas is around the corner ! Colombia kicks of the holiday season with a unqiue tradition of Little Candles’ Day.
Little Candles’ Day (Día de las Velitas) is celebrated on 7th December on the eve of the Immaculate Conception. On this day people place candles and paper lanterns on windowsills, balconies, porches, sidewalks, streets, parks and squares; in short, everywhere they can be seen, in honor of the Virgin Mary and her Immaculate Conception.
The day is the unofficial start of the Christmas season in the country.
This Colombian Christmas tradition dates back to 7 December 1854 when Pope Pius IX defined as dogma the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, published in his Apostolic Constitution Ineffabilis Deus. In anticipation of this decision, people lit candles and paper lanterns to show their support and belief in this idea.
Bogotá, the capital of Colombia, expects a turnout in the thousands for its big event in Simón Bolívar Park.
Different parts of the country celebrate this holiday in different ways.
Some of the best are found in Quimbaya, where neighbourhoods compete to see who can create the most impressive arrangement.