Fiesta de las Aguas, Pasto, February
Following the grease- and talcum-coated fun of Carnaval, the town of Pasto washes itself clean with a giant waterfight. Water is poured from balconies and everyone in town is fair game.
Festival del Burro, San Antero, Córdoba, Easter
The people of the Caribbean coastal town of San Antero love their donkeys so much that they have a festival dedicated to them. Each year around Easter the town’s donkeys are paraded through the streets – in drag. Some wear lipstick and mascara, feather boas and pearl necklaces, while others sport jeans or bikinis, and the best get-up wins a prize. They have even built a Burrodome, a special stadium where man and beast can hang out drinking beer and listening to vallenato.
Tomatina, Sutamarchán, Boyacá, June
The premise of this festival is very simple: dump a bunch of tomatoes in a field and get several thousand people to throw them at each other. This festival took its cue from the Tomatína in Buñol, near Valencia in Spain, which claims to be the world’s largest vegetable fight.
Yipao, Armenia, Quindío, October
Willys jeeps first arrived in Colombia in 1946 from the United States and they have become the most popular vehicles in the Zona Cafetera’s hilly countryside thanks to their robust handling and capacity to carry loads far beyond their size. Colombians demonstrate their admiration for these Second World War army jeeps by holding yipaos – competitions in which Willys’ owners must load as much produce as is physically possible onto their vehicles and parade down the street, often performing wheelies as they go. The most popular yipao is held in Armenia each October as part of the city’s annual fiesta, but the largest is in Calaracá in June, with over 370 jeeps taking part.