Colombian Independence Day
Thank you, Madam Speaker. The twenty-first of July is the winter solstice – the shortest, darkest day of the year, and often one of the coldest. This year, it was also the date on which the Australia Colombia Friendship Association, in collaboration with the Embassy of Colombia in Australia, hosted a celebration in honour of Colombia’s Independence Day (which actually occurred one day earlier). Let’s just say, it was decidedly not dark or cold inside the church hall that served as the venue for this colourful event.
Colombia is rightfully known as one of the most visually vibrant countries in the world. A simple Google image search for ‘Colombia’ brings up thousands of images of houses with brightly painted façades and multi-coloured doors. These photos come from a number of Colombian cities and towns, though one Lonely Planet writer has suggested that the small town of Guatapé may be the most colourful town in the entire world.
Though not reflected in the actual architecture, these beautiful colours of Colombia were on full display at the Independence Day celebration that it was my privilege to attend. Amazing traditional dances, for example, were performed by members of the Moposina Colombian Dance Group, arrayed in stunning multi-coloured clothing, accompanied by enchanting music performed by Mi Hermano y Yo.
Lending a different kind of ‘colour’ to the night was the fact that the entire event was emceed in Spanish. I didn’t understand much of what was said, but my guest and I certainly enjoyed ourselves immensely.
Topping off the evening was tasty – and again, colourful – food and drink, including Colombian chorizos, buñuelos, and almojábanas. My favourite refreshment was a beverage made from a native South American fruit called guanabana in Spanish (‘soursop’ in English). I couldn’t get enough of this delicious drink. Other guests clearly felt the same way too, as it was the first one to sell out.
I wish to publicly express my thanks to the Australia Colombia Friendship Association and the entire ACT Colombian community for working so hard to share with us what is intimately personal and important to them. I also thank Giovani Cano, president of the association, for kindly inviting me to participate at this fantastic event.
Many thanks as well to Mexico Lindo Canberra; to Kokoloco and its director Becky Fleming; to photographer Maria Koulouris; to Raúl, Mary, Rocío, Sandra, and Adrian for the wonderful food and drink; to Maria and Claire Ocana (the ‘wonder twins’); to Yasmin Vidal, James, Sylvain, and Priscilla; and to all the volunteers who helped with both set-up and clean-up.
I can say with all sincerity that I love Colombian heritage and culture!