Explosion of colors on the streets of Medellin, Colombia
On the streets of Medellin, Colombia, colors explode in diversity as thousands of flowers are carried forward on “silletas” (flower chairs) on the backs of the peasants from the district of Santa Helena in Medellin.
With the purpose of exposing to the public the beauty of and the work behind the flowers, the parade was initiated back in 1957.
The tradition is maintained through families with up to four generations of “silleteros”, including children and elders. On September 25, 2003, president Álvaro Uribe proclaimed the silleteros and Medellin Flower Fair a “Cultural Heritage of the Nation”.
Today the Medellin Flower Fair gathers thousands of spectators who await the parade all year, and the show has reached a prominent recognition internationally.
The silleteros have already paraded in multiple cities in the United States, Germany and Australia as well as in Tokyo and London.
As we drew closer to the people waiting for the parade, we noted the impact and the pride that the “Antioqueños” or “paisas” (people from the province of Antioqueña) take in being part of this event. They gladly shared their smiles and welcomed us as well as a group of Australians who for the first time visited Medellin, Colombia.
By Susan Arrieta Lallemand
Photos by Urban Skargren