Independence of Cartagena - Dates, origin, celebration

11 Nov 2024

Date 2024

Monday, 11 of November

Date 2025

Monday, 17 of November

Official: Independence of Cartagena
Spanish: Independencia de Cartagena
Independence of Cartagena - 11 de noviembre

The holiday for the Independence of Cartagena is celebrated every year on the first Monday from November 11. It is the second of two long weekends in November and the last holiday of civic origin of the year.

Each November 11th, at the Convention Center, the city's mayor recites the Proclamation that declared the independence of Cartagena in 1811. This serves as a reminder of the political rift between two parties that led to the severing of ties with the Spanish Crown.

¿What is the celebration about?

On November 11, 1811, two political groups led the contest for the Presidency and the Administration Council that ran the city: the Toledistas and Piñeristas. The victory was achieved by the former, led by José María García de Toledo.

However, the Piñeres brothers did not suspend the campaign. They devised a new strategy: to raise the pressure for independence from Spain, an issue that had been discussed in social and political circles for ten years. They organized a rally in the square in front of the Government Palace where the Administrative Council of the Supreme Court was meeting, whose agenda was, among other things, the approval of the independence act that the Piñeres had sent.

The Council decided to postpone the declaration of independence, for which the people began to protest. Armed and shouting, they demanded the freedom of Spain, accompanied by the Lanceros, the army of the people. The tension and the spirits of the population were so great that the Council signed the text of the Piñeres. Subsequently, as a civic act, the Proclamation of the Independence of Cartagena was read in the square.

In this way Cartagena became the first Colombian province and the second in America to declare independence. Later, led by Simón Bolívar, five countries (today called Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia) would cease to be colonies of Spain.

Celebration and traditions

Cartagena is an ideal destination to commemorate November 11th. The city hosts a variety of cultural events for several days, drawing many national and international tourists.

One of the most iconic events is the Bando Parade, a colorful parade featuring floats, troupes, and folkloric groups that traverse the city's main streets. It is a display of vibrant colors, music, dance, costumes, and movement.

The troupes from the Escuela Normal Superior de Cartagena spend months preparing their performances in the various town councils (neighborhoods). Their choreography and costumes, crafted with feathers, beads, and sequins, have become renowned.

In addition, there are parties and concerts held at the city's most iconic venues, such as the Old City and the Castillo San Felipe. The preferred musical genres are bagpipes and porro, a cumbia rhythm.

Tourists can experience traditional dances and the warm hospitality and good humor of the people of Cartagena, as they pay tribute to significant figures in public life.

During the long weekend, the National Beauty Contest is also held, in which several queens representing different regions of the country participate in parties at social clubs, events in neighborhoods, and parades in hotels and public spaces."

A story to remember

Grandparents tell that many couples fell in love at these parties while wearing the "capuchón", a costume that completely covered the head and body, allowing them to dance without recognizing their partner's identity.

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