Colombia is a country in which people and their daily lives are highly influenced by religion. Catholicism is the main religion in Colombia, with an estimated of 70% of the national population as adherents.
Like any other Catholic in the world, Colombians are getting ready to celebrate what it's known as 'Semana Santa' or 'Holy Week' in English. Semana Santa is the most important religious festival of the year, but for many Colombians it actually means a break from study or work and free time to travel. It traditionally starts on Palm Sunday - day to commemorate Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem - and lasts until Easter Sunday - day to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus.
During this time of the year, cathedrals, churches and plazas all over the country are filled with people celebrating this religious festival. However, small cities and towns are specially known to hold beautiful processions and pilgrimages.
Keep reading to discover the best places to celebrate Holy Week traditions in Colombia!
The city of Popayán, known for its white colonial buildings, holds traditional Holy Week celebrations that are among the most esteemed in the country. These celebrations are actually on the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of the UNESCO.
Thousands of people watch and participate in processions devoted to Mary, Jesus, The Cross, The Laying in the Tomb and The Resurrection.
Santa Cruz de Mompox, Bolívar
The town of Mompox, located in northern Colombia, is also a renowned place for Holy Week celebrations.
Mompox was declared a Historical and Architectural World Heritage site by the UNESCO, and during Holy Week, locals have a very distinctive way of celebrating: On Holy Wednesday, they dress in their best clothing and participate in a procession through the town center. The procession ends at the cemetery where people pass the night while adorning the graves of loved ones with flowers and listening to music.
In the Colombian capital, Bogotá, many devoted Catholics take part in pilgrimages to visit religious monuments or churches in the city. One of the most famous ones is the pilgrimage to the church located on the top of ‘Monserrate’. While many people usually take the cable car or funicular railway to reach the top, during Holy Week, Catholics make the pilgrimage on foot, climbing all the way to the top.
The Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá, located just outside Bogotá, is also a very important religious site. It features underground cathedrals and is specially visit by many tourists and devoted Catholics during Holy Week.
If you're looking for what to see and do in Bogotá click on the following article:
Cali, Valle del Cauca
In the city of Cali, pilgrimages also take place as part of Holy Week celebrations. The path leading to 'Las Tres Cruces' (The Three Crosses) is a very famous hike for locals.
People of all ages climb to the top of the mountain every single day, but during Holy Week, 'The Three Crosses' becomes crowded by devoted Catholics as it turns into a site of pilgrimage.
If you're looking for what to see and do in Cali click on the following article:
Holy week 2020: April 5th - April 11th