National Bambuco Folk Festival and Beauty Pageant

In 1790, the governor of the area that is now Huila, declared a special fiesta in Honor of the King of Spain. These fiestas or "La Jura" was required to demonstrate obedience and respect to the King.

Originally, the fiestas were to be held for 10 days in the month of June and corresponded with the Día de San Juan (Day of Saint John -- June 24) and that of San Pedro (Saint Peter -- June 29). In centuries past, the Día de San Juan was more celebrated by those in rural areas and the Día de San Pedro by those in the cities.

In 1956, the first parade, where people dressed in traditional clothing, was organized. A few years later, in 1960, the first annual Festival Folclorico y Reinado del Bambuco was declared by a city ordinance.

The festival includes competitions and prizes for the best musical groups, the best dancers, and the best floats. Of course, as with almost any Colombian festival, there is a beauty pageant where the contestants are each required to dance a Bambuco -- see tomorrow's post. In addition to the dance, the contestants participate in the Water Parade where they flost on decorated boats, in their bathing suits, down the Magdalena River.
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