As Christmas time is approaching, Colombians are going completely crazy with the decorations and pre-celebrations called novenas. Basically nine days before Christmas they start coming together every evening with the family or friends and sing and pray according to a little booklet that is sold on the street and has the praying-plan for every day.
I am not religious and therefore not that interested in praying but getting together with the humongous family and having a nice dinner and free drinks while singing “ven, ven, ven” (come, come, come, as in Jesus come to use please) and playing instruments is not even as corny as you might think.
One of the best plans during the weeks leading to Christmas however is “la Ruta de la Navidad” (the Christmas tour). Just about every person in Bogota (city of 7million) finds his way around to see all the parks that are lid up by millions of lights and special decoration according to the theme of this year; the seasons:
Plaza de Bolivar in the center of the city is Invierno; winter.
Plaza de Usaquen in the North is Primavera; Spring.
Parque el Virrey also in the North is Verano; Summer.
Parque el Tintal in the South East is Otono; Fall.
We went out a few days ago and joined the river of people through the streets and parks, passing by tall Christmas trees, a sea of lights with fish in it, people performing Cumbia (a dance), vendors offering mazorca (corn) and pinchos (meat on a stick) and even a classical concert of a University Orchestra.
An impression of the sights to be encountered:
One good option to see all the parks is to go in a Chiva bus. A traditional bus that now mainly is used for having your mobile party, driving around the city with loud music, dancing and especially drinking. You can rent these buses and they will drive you and your friends around town, stopping wherever you want. Definitely go out for this show if you are in town!