Celebrating el Día de la Independencia de Colombia in Bogotá

July 30, 2018

Every year on July 20th, Colombia celebrates their independence from Spain. On this date in 1810, the population of Bogotá rioted in the streets following the famous "flower vase incident". This event was when Bogotá patriots known as Criollos (people of Spanish descent born in the Americas and not in Spain), asked Spanish merchant Don José González Llorente at his home if they could borrow a flower vase for a dinner set to honor the Royal Commissioner Antonio Villavicencio, a patriot sympathizer. When Llorente refused (as was expected), the riots began. Colombians gained a limited independence that was later made permanent with the Battle of Boyacá in 1819, where Simón Bolívar successfully liberated Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Panama from Spanish rule.

 

So how is it celebrated today? As someone from the Washington D.C. suburbs in the United States, I was curious to see how spending Colombian Independence Day in the capital of Colombia would compare to spending July 4th--the United States of America's Independence day in the capital there.

 

Since el 20 de julio is a national holiday, most people have the day off of work. Unlike other Colombian “festivos,” which are celebrated on Mondays, el 20 de julio is celebrated whichever day of the week it falls on. This year it was on a Friday. I noticed many people heading out to bars and clubs with their friends on Thursday night. On Friday in Bogotá,there were several military marches (which I didn't go to--they were pretty far from my apartment. But I´m including a link to a YouTube!), and I noticed a lot more Colombian flags than usual when I was walking around. However I think the most popular thing to do, especially when el 20 de julio falls on a Friday or Monday, making a long weekend like it did this year, is travel out of the city. The streets were almost empty!  Relaxing with family and friends, soaking up the sun--this isn't too different from the States.

 

There might not have been a big fireworks display, but overall it doesn't seem like the United States and Colombia celebrate their independence days too differently.

 

Check out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAtvrf7bN_Q

 

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