Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Fantastic Christmas Lights of Medellín

Turning the city into a colorful, magical, twinkling fairyland

Alumbrados Navideños sobre el Río Medellí
Turning the city into a colorful, magical, twinkling fairyland
Christmas time is truly a magical time. In almost every corner of the world, different types of celebrations for the Christmas season are held annually. In most cities and towns, holiday decorations include giant Christmas trees decorated in different themes. Trees and shrubs are wrapped and covered in tiny Christmas lights, lampposts, houses and building display Christmas lanterns, wreaths and other holiday decorations. Big shopping malls hire decorators to create colorful themed store displays.

In the beautiful city of Medellín, in the South American country of Colombia, the Los Alumbrados de Medellín or the Medellín Christmas Lights in Spanish is hosted from the 7th of December until the 15th of January. Eighteen million LED lights. A myriad of colors. Giant 3D structures. These are what you will see in Medellín in December.
The event is world-renown and brings in hordes of tourists to the city. It is an event that marks the unofficial start of the Christmas season in Colombia. It is a spectacular event that turns the whole city of Medellín into a varicolored nighttime jewel.

Butterfly Lights
Los Alumbrados is not only done in Medellín but in the whole country. Colombians are very passionate about this event, which turns each city, each building, every house and streets into one very colorful and brightly lit Christmas display of massive proportions. Even when times are tough, the Christmas season will not be complete without the Los Alumbrados. City halls in Colombia offer prizes to houses that have the best alumbrados displays.

Center of it all
While Los Alumbrados is observed in the whole country, the focus of the celebration is in Medellín, centered around the area near Rio Medellín, at Puente de Guayaquil, which translates to Guayaquil Bridge. Built in 1878, it is the oldest standing bridge across the Medellín River. This is where the Christmas lights of Medellín are the most impressive.

Theme: Nature, Light and Life
The Alumbrados in Medellín is the most beautiful, the biggest and the brightest of all Alumbrados in the country. Each year has a different and specially designed theme. Trees, plants, buildings, the bridge, huge 3D figures, exquisite images and designs are covered in LED lights turning the whole area into a glowing display in various colors. Included in the theme are the best representative figures for each region in Colombia. The project is such a grand scale that an industry grew out of it for the design, creation and installation of millions of Christmas lights. These lights are later sold to Europe and other South American countries after they have been used. This year 2012, the theme is Nature, Light and Life.

Where to enjoy the lights
To fully enjoy the whole spectacle, start your walk from Parque de los Pies Descalzos, a beautiful park in the center of the city and head towards the side of the river. After making a tour around the huge display area, you could go up the Cerro Nutibara, a small hill near the city that could be accessed on foot, by car or by bus. The hill is also decorated, not as grand as the lights near the river but equally impressive. Up on the hill you will get a spectacular view of the city and more appreciation for the beauty of the Los Alumbrados de Medellín.

by: Bernadiine B. Racoma
Editor, Day Translations, Inc.
“The most accurate translations on the planet!”

Photo Credits:
- Alumbrados Navideños sobre el Río Medellín 2006
- Butterfly lights


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