Festival of Saint Francis of Assisi, Quibdó

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Inscribed in 2012 (7.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

© 2012 by Fundación Fiestas Franciscanas de Quibdó

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.

The carnival groups ('comparsas') in the districts' parades have a new theme each year. This one represents the African ancestor
The carnival groups ("comparsas") in the districts' parades have a new theme each year, enriched with colourful costumes (cachés)
The carnival groups ('comparsas') in the parades have a new theme each year. This costume ('caché') represents 'The Church in the head, Chocó in the hand and Colombia on the body'.
Hairdresser shop 'House of Queens, Misael and Gabino'. Infinite joy in the eyes of Victor Palacio, as he prepares for the Yesca Grande district's parade
District's boat on October 3rd, day of the St. Francis procession on the Atrato River ('Balsadas'). Chirimía music and carnival groups gather on each of the 12 district's boat, to 'dance' around the main boat where the Saint's altar stands
Governing Committee boat on October 3rd, day of the St. Francis procession on the Atrato River ('Balsadas'). Followed by the 12 district boats, St. Francis of Assisi navigates the river recalling the patron saint's popular celebrations of the region
The 'caché' (costume) is the key factor for the success of the carnaval groups (comparsas). Dancing in choreography with the chirimiaa music, the San Pacho Festival is embrighten the caché's colours and themes, refection of the Quibdó people creativity
Miss Luz Eulogia Agualimpia Moreno offering jewels to St. Francis of Assisi. People who have been favored by the Saint though miracles offer him a piece of their jewelry on October 4th, the 'Grand Procession' day
On October 4th, the Quibdó people celebrate the dawn with devotional hymns ('Gozos') in a procession leaded by the 'Franciscan Band' : the Saint stops in each one of the 12 Franciscan Districts, where he is adored by candles and gozos.
The traditional chirimía music is one of the most important aspects for the San Pacho Festival, and represents Choco's identity. At night, the chirimía animates the celebration in the 'bundes', traditional parties where the music alternates with chorus from the audience