Colombia is a South American country with a population of about 46 million people. Spanish is the main language spoken in the country. The country has more than 60 indigenous languages which are recognized as official in the territories in which they are spoken. Colombia is a Christian country with more than 12 Christian holidays during the year. The official public holidays on the Colombia Calendar are listed below:
New Year: The Colombian calendar begins the year with New Year’s Day, also known as Año Nuevoin Spanish. New Year is on 1 January, according to the Gregorian Calendar.
Epiphany: This is a Christian holiday that is observed on the Western & Eastern Christian calendar. The holiday is on 6 January. It is known as Día de los Reyes Magos in Spanish.
Saint Joseph’s Day: This Christian holiday is observed on 19 March. It is a day to commemorate Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus and the husband of Mary, the Virgin. This holiday is known as de San José in Spanish. It is a feast solemnized by the Catholic Church and observed in Western Christianity. Members of the Lutheran church and Anglican Church also celebrate this feast. St Joseph’s Day has been celebrated on the Western calendar since the tenth century and it was officially recognized by Rome in 1479.This holiday is celebrated as Fathers Day in Catholic countries such as Italy, Spain and Portugal.
Maundy Thursday: This is the day before Good Friday or the third day before Easter Sunday. It is called Jueves Santo in Spanish. This holiday usually begins in March or April.
Good Friday: This is the day before Holy Saturday. Saturday is a holy day on which the saviour was dead. Good Friday is called Viernes Santo in Spanish. The date of observance of this holiday varies from year to year.
Labor Day: Also called May Day, this is a day to celebrate labor. The holiday is fixed to the 1st of May every year.Primero de Mayo is the Spanish name for this holiday.
The Ascension: This holiday marks the occasion when Jesus ascended to heaven after his mission had been fulfilled on earth. The number of days from the resurrection of Christ to his ascension are based on the New Testament account. Acts 1:9 to 11 gives an account of the ascension. The ascension occurs 40 days after Jesus rises from the dead.
Corpus Christi: Like the Ascension Day, this is one of the events that emanates from Easter. Corpus Christi means the ‘body of Christ’ in Latin. It is a Christian feast solemnizing the presence of Christ in the bread and wine that is taken during this feast. The bread represents the body of Christ and the wine represents his blood. Churches that have belief in the body and blood of Christ partake in this religious rite every year. In Poland and Rome, the Corpus Christi procession is made with the Pope accompanying the procession in Rome. The Corpus Christi holiday is observed in remembrance of Christ’s words in 1st Corinthians 11:23-24.The bread taken during this ceremony is known as the Holy Communion, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord’s Supper or the Eucharist. The ceremony is held 60 days after the resurrection (Easter Sunday) on a Thursday.
Sacred Heart: This Christian feast takes the heart of Jesus as a symbol of his compassion, long suffering and unconditional love for man. It is celebrated on the 19th day after Pentecost. This feast has been held by the Roman Catholic since 1856.In Chilean Spanish it is known as Sagrado Corazon.
St Peters & St Pauls Day: This is a day to commemorate Peter, one of the Disciples of Christ and Paul, one of the apostles of Christ. The day is known as San Pedro y San Pablo in Spanish. It is celebrated on 29 June.
Declaration of Independence: This is celebrated on 20 July. A day to celebrate the independence of Colombia as a sovereign state. Colombia declared independence on 20 July 1810.A governing junta was created in Santa Fe de Bogota, leading to the creation of the Colombian Republic.
Battle of Boyacá: This is celebrated on 7 August. It is a day to remember the battle of independence against the Spanish ruling elite on 7 August 1819.Colombia was called New Granada. The British and Venezuelans joined Colombians of the Republican army to fight against loyalists of the Spanish Royalty. The Royal army led by Colonel Barreiro surrendered in two hours and about 1,600 soldiers were captured.
Assumption of Mary: On 15 August, a Christian holiday known as the La Asunciónis commemorated. The feast of the Assumption of Mary is celebrated in many Christian countries where the Roman Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox churches are dominant. It is based on theology which believes that Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ was taken to heaven when her life on earth came to an end. Pope Pius XII is credited with defining this dogma and issuing a papal decree for its observance on 1 November 1950.
Columbus Day: A lot of Latin American countries, including the USA and others celebrate Columbus Day. In Spanish, this day is known as Día de la Raza. Christopher Columbus was an explorer whose voyages led him to the discovery of the American continent on 12 October 1492.In some countries such as Argentina, it is celebrated as a day of cultural diversity. It’s only in the 20th century that this holiday has begun to be observed as an official holiday by most countries, otherwise it had been an unofficial holiday all along.
All Saints Day: This holiday is observed by Christian members of the Catholic Church, Eastern Churches and related denominations. Dead Saints are remembered in the Eastern religion and dead souls who are with God are commemorated in the Catholic religion. It is observed on 1 November.
Independence of Cartagena: This is celebrated on 11 November.In the 1800s, when Colombia was known as New Granada, all the provinces were under the rule of the Spanish monarchy. The city of Cartagena took its place in the history of the country by becoming the first province that rebelled and broke away from the Spanish empire on 11 November 1811, declaring its independence and inspiring events that led to the battle of Boyacá in 1819.The independence celebrations have changed over the years. Initially, the day began with speeches and tributes, accompanied by music and fireworks displays in the evenings.Today, the celebrations are characterized by carnival feasts which feature parades and dancers. A national beauty contest to raise money for charity is the major event on this day.
Immaculate Conception: This is a popular Christian observance that commemorates the pure and sinless conception of Virgin Mary. The day is observed on 8 December and it is known as La Inmacullada Concepcion in Spanish.
Christmas Day: The Colombia Calendar has Christmas as its last holiday of the year. Christians remember the birth of Christ and shops, schools and businesses are usually closed on this day. The day is known as Navidad in Spanish and it is celebrated on 25 December.