Semillero de Carnaval




Photos and text by: Pacho Manrique

How do great traditions endure and flourish? Well the answer, as everyone quickly realized this past Sunday, in Parque Sagrado Corazon’s public amphitheater, is in that popular phrase that corny politicians are so fond of: “the children are our future”.

Gathered in scores from every corner of the city, the people of Barranquilla were treated by its infancy to a magnificent evening of carnival joy, dance and showmanship.

The Semillero del Carnaval is one of the main events involving the city’s childhood in the annual Carnaval festivities, and gives a platform to all the major folkloric groups dancing in the festival to showcase the abilities of their smallest members. The audience on Sunday had a chance to view virtually all of the dances and cheer for their favorite groups. Garabatos, cumbiambas, mapalés and farotas amongst others comprised the repertoire. It was a gala that this year’s Queen Fefi and King Momo couldn’t miss; being cheered from the bleachers in respectful contemplation of the kids’ talents.

True to the essence of its name, the Semillero del Carnaval (Carnival seedbed, in English), is a testament to the manner in which tradition is kept and handed down generation after generation not only from performers to their offspring but also from adult locals to their children, as the values involved in Carnaval as well as the spirit of celebration is passed on. Children learn from early on to enjoy the carnival and its traditions; encouraging those with talent to dance, or even become Queen or Momo King themselves one day.

This event is just the first of several aimed to the young public in an effort to include them in a celebration mostly enjoyed by adults, as further spectacles in the official programming include: the crowing of the child Queen and King, and the Children’s Carnaval Parade; as well as other non-official events, such as the Fantástico festival which is an appendix to the Carnival of the Arts taking place a couple of weeks prior to Carnaval’s main events.

Keep posted with Barranquilla Life, for everything Carnaval related.

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I was born and raised in Texas and found my way to Barranquilla in May 2012. When I'm not working at Barranquilla Life, I'm busy working as a counselor educator, clinical supervisor, and independent researcher. My research interests include family systems, masculinity and machismo, and technology. I enjoy beaches, tech-house music, Tex-Mex food, photography-art, and politics.