What could be considered as even crazier and certainly far more tropical is that the vast majority of these rockets are launched directly from the hands of the drinkers. You hold the top section of the rocket in your hand, light the fuse; hold it at arm’s length (this is as far as the safety measures go) and when you feel it start to tug you let go and the rocket takes off into the smoke-filled sky.
This year I have noticed a difference, so far there seem to be less fireworks being let off in the build up to the Alborada than in previous years. I am afraid of being optimistic, but I am starting to believe that maybe the police are actually making a concerted effort to impose the aforementioned ban, though maybe the people are saving their fireworks for tonight and it will noisier than ever.
Based on many personal experiences, optimism has a morbid tendency of being replaced by resignation and I fear this could once again be the doomed outcome of my present optimism regarding this year’s Alborada.
Will the 2015 Alborada Party in Medellin, Colombia, be less Deafening and Sleep Depriving than in Previous Years?
Today is the 30th of November and that means only one thing here in Colombia—the Alborada. A cacophony of noise that sets dogs barking or running for cover, presumably scares the hell out of the local bird population and wildlife in general, and means that those who have to work the following morning are more than likely to enter the office looking bleary-eyed and dishevelled—the Alborada is the Colombian way of welcoming in the start of December and the Christmas season.
The basic idea is to celebrate the start of December by setting off as many fireworks as possible at midnight on the 30th of November. The party starts as soon as it gets dark and obviously besides the rockets waiting to be sent upward into the night sky there are plenty of alcoholic beverages, chilled and waiting to be downed. According to people I speak to, fireworks are actually banned here in the city, but this tends to make little difference to their availability and use, and so the rockets—that do nothing but produce three loud bangs as they explode—begin their deafening assault on the eardrums soon after 6 PM.
This somewhat gentle start escalates in intensity as the night wears on—and the insomnolent party goers’ intake of alcohol increases— until reaching its peak at midnight when everywhere across the city thousands upon thousands of rockets are racing into the sky to end their lives with three rumbustious bangs. The sounds of these excruciatingly loud bangs can be heard echoing around the mountains into the early hours of the morning and there are usually still a few hardened revellers left at the time most people are getting ready for work the following morning.
Welsh, Photographer, Vegan, English teacher and translator from Spanish to English.