Culture & Society


Evolving over the centuries, the uniquely diverse Colombian culture seamlessly blends the traditions of its European, African, Caribbean, Middle Eastern and indigenous roots. Whilst the indigenous populations were all but wiped out during the colonial era, many traditions found a way to survive and are still reflected in Colombian customs, music and language today. The Spanish colonial era however, has left a lasting influence in shaping Colombian society, with the Spanish bringing with them Catholicism and a cast system that favoured European-born whites which prevails to some extent even to this day.

Despite the diversity of peoples, there are incredibly strong unifying experiences in Colombian culture. Football, played on every street corner, carnivals and a strong love of local music all unite the economic classes of Colombian society. Music in particular, is a pivotal part of Colombian culture, with Vallenato and Cumbia played throughout the country

Colombia also has a rich artistic heritage, having given the world many great writers and artists. Arguably the best known is Gabriel García Marquez, the internationally renowned writer whose magic realist style saw him awarded the Nobel prize for literature for 100 Years Of Solitude, a sprawling multi-generational tale of the fictional town of Mocondo, widely believed to be a microcosm of Colombian society over its turbulent past. Another larger than life personality is the visual artist Fernando Botero. Born in Medellin, at a time when it was a relatively isolated small town, Botero’s beautiful, bulbous sculptures now adorn many a big city and his paintings can be found in international museums.


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