It all start just after the sun went down a little after 6 PM last night. I’m not sure there is any such thing as a night without fireworks in Medellin, but this night was supposed to be the big one. A handful at a time would sneak their way into the nights sky up until about 10 O’clock. That’s when they started ramping up.
There was no central organization or location for the view and by midnight they were everywhere. Distant hills sparkled with bottle rockets and explosions drifted colorful streaks over the various neighborhoods. In the neighborhood of Bello directly in front of me, a short blast of 10-20 large, colorful fireworks would launch about every thirty minutes. Laureles to my left was a little more conservative, only doing two or three pre-midnight shows.
As midnight drew closer, Medellin began to erupt with sparkles of lights. Massive displays began going on in every direction. Some miles away and others only one block, there seemed to be a never ending spectacle of lights twinkling and exploding all around. While no individual display or neighborhood was particularly impressive, the totality of the event was overwhelming.
Nearly a half hour after the 1st of December began the displays began to slow, but not let up. In fact, as I write this at 4:30 the next afternoon I’m still getting a bottle rocket outside my balcony about every 10 minutes (It’s starting to rain so maybe they’ll slow down long enough for me to get a nap).
So… WHY were there fireworks in Medellin last night?
Well, I’ve been asking this question for a couple of days now. Everyone seems to agree that they are celebrating the first of December. When asked what is significant about the date, everyone just scratches their heads and says “I don’t know.” So I floated my own conclusion to see what the locals would say. You see, Colombia has about 50 national holidays. Yet, I don’t remember any in the last couple of weeks. So I asked what the chances were that they just needed a reason to celebrate since there hadn’t been a holiday in a couple of weeks. The general answer was that it seemed like a good enough reason to them.
And thus Colombian logic reigns supreme once again…
No holidays, let’s just celebrate the first of the month.