River Overlook, Parques del Rio
Medellin is world-renowned for its Christmas lights. 

Also known as Alumbrados, the Medellin Christmas Lights are put on by EPM, the city’s public/private utility company. Each year, the Alumbrados displays grow more and more elaborate and draw ever-bigger crowds – at least, in normal times. This year they all lit up right on schedule on Nov. 30, but with lots of restrictions and tighter crowd control. And then abruptly last Monday, all Medellin Christmas lights went dark completely until Jan. 3, thanks to escalating virus numbers. COVID-19: the gift that keeps on giving . . .

Navidad season in Colombia officially begins on Dec. 1, and light is a big theme.

A new twist this year is EPM’s spectacular Luz de Esperanza (Light of Hope), a projected light beam based in the Plaza Mayor that can be seen all over Medellín. What a fitting symbol to bring this bizarre year to a close!

Another light-themed event, and one we really look forward to every year, is the Dia de las Velitas (Day of Little Candles) on Dec. 7, the eve of the Immaculate Conception. Although this year’s celebration had to be more subdued, it’s a lovely evening lit by the glow of countless small candles and lanterns in windows and on door stoops. In non-pandemic years, groups of family and friends gather in the parks and in front of their houses to light the little candles, share food and drink, play music, and enjoy each other’s company. Let’s hope Navidad 2021 returns this special evening to its full glory.

Estos son los cambios que deberá tener en cuenta para el día de las velitas si está en Medellín
Lighting velitas (Publimetro photo)
But the big stars are the Alumbrados.

Together with neighboring municipalities Envigado and Sabaneta, Medellín goes all out with the Christmas lights – and this year was no exception. In Medellín, EPM stages its Alumbrados in two locations: Parque Norte and the Parques del Rio.

Within walking distance from our apartment, the Parques del Rio are an almost-new series of parks along the Medellín River and one of our favorite places to take our dogs on a weekend morning. We were lucky enough to see the Alumbrados there last week, just a few days before they went dark.

With the theme “The Magic of Colombia,” this year’s Alumbrados at the Parques celebrate the different regions of Colombia in all their cultural and natural diversity.

Here are our best photos from the Parques del Rio (click through to view each one by one).

And just for fun, here’s a short video of the scene in the “Cali Salsa” area.

A Virtual Visit to the Parques del Rio

The Medellin Christmas Lights may have gone dark for a few days, but EPM has seen to it that people can still enjoy them – at least, virtually. Check out this fantastic site, which includes 360-degree views of each area as well as some fun videos!

After looking at our Christmas post from last year, it strikes me just how different things are this year. Quieter, less varied, and definitely less social. Sign of the times . . . but maybe it’s good to end 2020 on a more contemplative note. Here’s to a New Year filled with healing, recovery, and a return to the types of freedoms we’ve always taken for granted, but with newfound gratitude. And TRAVEL!

We hope you’ve enjoyed this festive post. Here’s wishing you and yours a safe, peaceful, and loving holiday season!

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    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Gracias – igualmente a tí! 🙂

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Thanks so much, and Feliz Navidad right back to you!

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      It’s all here waiting for you to come back 🙂

  1. What a wonderful light show! So glad you got to see it illuminated before the new restrictions went into place. Feliz Navidad.

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Feliz Navidad a ti, Henry – y Feliz Año Nuevo!

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Same back to you and Don, Alison! Here’s to a fantastic new year filled with lots of hope and dreams that come true!
      – Susan

  2. Hi, Johna and Susan – Your photos of the Christmas lightups are stunning!
    Wishing you a positive end to 2020 and a wonderful and inspiring year ahead!

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Thank you, Donna! All the best to you and your family as we embark on an exciting and promising New Year!

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Thank you, Terri! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year right back to you. Cheers!

  3. I’m always amazed to see how different Christmas light festivals are in different countries. Great pictures. ¡Feliz Navidad!

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Muchas gracias, y Feliz Navidad a ti!

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Thanks, Mel! Let’s hope 2021 brings lots of exciting new horizons to all of us!
      Cheers, Susan

  4. Hmm, I tried commenting twice with no success. Hope it comes through this time. Love the Christmas light show and how different it is from the scenes here.

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Got it! You’re not the first person to have trouble leaving a comment lately. Guess I have to figure out what’s going on with the WordPress peeps. Anyway, thanks so much!

  5. So colorful and beautiful! And also inventive to string them over the water. Hope you both had a very merry Christmas! Cheers to a better year ahead in 2021!

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Thanks, Kelly! We had a nice quiet Christmas under lockdown (again) here in Medellin. That’s the saving grace to the lockdowns – it gets so peaceful here! Cheers back to you for a fantastic 2021!

      • Agreed! The calm and quiet of these holidays has been enjoyable instead of the frenzy everyone is normally in for the month of December. Let’s enjoy it while we can!

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Thanks so much! Hope you two had a lovely Christmas and New Year.

  6. Fabulous photos of amazing lights, Medellin looks so festive. What a great display and how Christmassy does the whole town look. Hope you both had a lovely Christmas.

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Thanks so much, Jonno! Same back to you – hopefully you and your family had a lovely and blessed holiday. 🙂

  7. Things have been so quiet here for the holiday this year. Thank you for the lovely photos and description of the celebrations you saw in Columbia. Here’s to a great 2021 for us all.

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      It’s definitely been a different kind of holiday season! Honestly, we’ve enjoyed the quiet – a more reflective time with no pressure to socialize or do so many other things that can bring stress to this time of year. It has been hard, though, to be so far from our family. I hope you had a lovely holiday season, Muriel, and we wish you a beautiful 2021!

  8. Although it is too bad that the lights needed to be dimmed for a time, what a vibrant extravaganza it is. The Luz de Esperanza especially fitting as we begin 2021. Let us hope for all countries the year is filled with new light and hope.

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      An excellent wish for the new year, Sue! We’re feeling hopeful today and looking forward to new beginnings in 2021. Cheers to you and Dave!

  9. this is truly incredible 🙂 and it just makes me want to pack and move to Colombia and discover all these events and cities 🙂 you have a wonderful collection of posts 🙂 stay safe and cheers from Portugal 🙂 PedroL

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