December 9th, 2011
Every year, Medellin comes alive with the Christmas spirit. The entire city participates to cover the landscape in millions of colorful lights and decorations. Nowhere is this more evident and magnificent than along the Medellin river where the city dedicates countless man hours and millions of pesos in electricity bills to create one of the most impressive Christmas light displays in the world.
This event is called Los Alumbrados and begins in early December and continues through early January but the locals are so enthusiastic about the tradition that the preparations often start in September. This year seems to be one of the most spectacular in recent memory, which is no easy feat because every year seems to be more impressive than the last. Each year a different theme is chosen for the celebration and this year’s features the various barrios (communities) of Medellin and highlights a specific facet of each.
The city goes to great lengths to give everyone a chance to see the Alumbrados up close by shutting down the highway that runs along the Medellin River. This creates a “boardwalk” type atmosphere with over a hundred stalls for food vendors, souvenir shops, and entertainers. Locals and visitors alike come down to the river to take in the millions of lights and creative decorations.
We took a video of the nearly 2 kilometer stretch along the river during the daytime to give you an idea of just how large, detailed, and creative the Christmas celebration is. We hope you like it!
(A description (in Spanish) of the Alumbrados can be found here.)
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