Festival of Saint Francis of Assisi, Quibdó
Inscribed in 2012 (7.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
Every year from 3 September to 5 October the twelve Franciscan districts of Quibdó, Colombia, hold the Fiesta de San Pacho, a celebration of the community’s Afro-descendant Chocó identity, embedded in popular-rooted religion. It begins with the Catholic ‘Inaugural Mass’ at the Cathedral blended with traditional dances and chirimía music performed by the San Francis of Assisi Band. This is followed by a parade of carnival groups featuring costumes, dances and chirimía. Each district offers a morning mass and allegorical floats and carnival groups in the afternoon. On 3 October, the patron saint travels the Atrato River in boats, and on 4 October people celebrate the dawn with devotional hymns and perform the Grand Procession of the Saint in the afternoon. Local artists and craftspersons make the floats, district altars, costumes and street decorations with young people learning alongside. Certain families per district act as custodians and work through the Franciscan Festival Foundation to organize events, preserve know-how and keep the tradition alive. The festival is the main symbolic space in the life of Quibdó. It strengthens Chocó identity and promotes social cohesion within the community, while promoting creativity and innovation through its revival and recreation of traditional knowledge and respect towards nature.