Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fiesta de San Pacho -- Quibdó

In 1648, a group of Franciscan missionaries arrived to the area of what is now Quibdó, Chocó. With them they brought a large statue of San Francisco de Asís. Their mission was to 'civilize' the natives of the region and build new routes for the Gold from Chocó to get to the capitals of the Nuevo Reino de Granada.

Shortly after their arrival, they organized a floating parade. A long line of canoes was headed by a canoe bearing the statue of San Francisco de Asís. By 1684, the natives had become restless with the new religion and killed off the missionaries. This might have been the end of the encroachment on the natives for a while, had it not been for the Spanish conquistadors that had moved into the area in 1670, bringing with them a large groups of African slaves who worked to take gold out of the rivers and hills in Chocó.

The African slaves in the area took San Francisco de Asís as their patron saint, and he was eventually named the patron saint of Quibdó. In 1926, a massive festival was organized in his honor from September 20 - October 4. It is often called the 40 days of partying and the 1 day on reflection.

Today, the festival includes dances and parades and is a unique mixture of Catholic and African traditions. Throughout the festival, the statue of San Francisco de Asís is paraded through every neighborhood in the city.


You can learn more about the festival and see pictures at the official website:
Here is a YouTube video of the fiestas last year:


It would be nice to celebrate this festival with any child adopted from the Pacific coast of Colombia.

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