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.
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!