Colombia’s Quirky Donkey Festival: Honoring Rural Traditions with a Splash of Color

Donkeys, adorned in carefully crafted costumes depicting Colombian heroes or international icons, strut proudly through the streets, embodying the spirit of resilience and companionship shared between farmers and their faithful equine companions.
February 12, 2024
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1 min read

In Colombia, nestled along the Caribbean coast, lies the charming town of San Antero, where each Easter, a peculiar yet heartwarming tradition unfolds—the Festival del Burro, or Donkey Festival. This unique celebration, born out of gratitude for the tireless work of donkeys supporting Colombian farmers, is a colorful spectacle of costumes, community spirit, and cultural heritage.

Originally conceived to honor the indispensable role of donkeys in agricultural labor, the festival has evolved into a vibrant display of creativity and tradition. Donkeys, adorned in carefully crafted costumes depicting Colombian heroes or international icons, strut proudly through the streets, embodying the spirit of resilience and companionship shared between farmers and their faithful equine companions.

Mayor Ancisar Parra of Moniquira emphasizes the festival’s deeper significance, highlighting the resilience of rural farmers amidst challenging governmental policies. “Our rural farmers deserve recognition for their daily toil, and since the donkey is their indispensable ally, we pay homage to them through this festival,” Mayor Parra explains, underscoring the festival’s role in fostering community solidarity and appreciation for agricultural heritage.

Dating back to the early 20th century, the festival’s origins centered around a symbolic procession featuring an effigy of Judas Iscariot, later replaced by the enduring symbol of the donkey itself. Today, the festival showcases the rich cultural tapestry of the Boyaca region, drawing tourists and locals alike to witness the spectacle of donkeys vying for the coveted titles of King and Queen of the festival.

Amidst the festive atmosphere, the donkeys are granted a well-deserved respite from their daily duties, symbolizing a week of rest and celebration. As street parties reverberate with the infectious rhythms of live band music, the people of San Antero come together to revel in the joyous spirit of their beloved Donkey Festival—an ode to tradition, community, and the enduring bond between man and beast.

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