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  • Colombia Celebrates Flower Festival

    Every year in early August, the Colombian city of Medellin celebrates its famous Flower Festival. Thousands of tourists visit the city for this week-long event, which includes dozens of cultural activities from flower displays, to concerts and standup comedy shows.
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  • Colombia Celebrates Flower Festival

    The flower festival is most well-known for its annual Silletero parade. Silleteros are local peasants who carry ornate flower arrangements on their backs.
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  • Colombia Celebrates Flower Festival

    The term silletero dates back to the 19th century, when peasants from Colombia's Antioquia region used to carry produce on wooden frames attached to their backs. Some also attached chairs or "sillas" to their backs to carry people across mountain passes, in this rugged region.
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  • Colombia Celebrates Flower Festival

    The modern-day flower parade began in 1957, when a local businessman and tourist official asked 40 flower farmers from the nearby village of Santa Elena to parade through downtown Medellin, in order to show off their produce. Flowers are a big product of the Medellin area, and Colombia is currently the world's second largest flower exporter.
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  • Colombia Celebrates Flower Festival

    Today more than 400 silleteros participate in the annual parade. They carry complex floral arrangements that can weigh up to 160 pounds.
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  • Colombia Celebrates Flower Festival

    Most silleteros come from Santa Elena, a village that is about 12 miles from Medellin.
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  • Colombia Celebrates Flower Festival

    Families carefully put together their floral arrangements the day before the parade.
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  • Colombia Celebrates Flower Festival

    Floral arrangements can get very complex, like this one which represents food from Medellin and the Antioquia region.
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  • Colombia Celebrates Flower Festival

    Or this one, which calls for peace in Colombia. There are prizes for the best floral arrangements.
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  • Colombia Celebrates Flower Festival

    The silletero parade is so popular that there's also a separate kids parade, in which children carry floral arrangements of their own.
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