El Alumbrado 2019: The Lights of Medellin

January 10, 2020

El Alumbrado is for kids of every age


This post will be almost solely pictures. The holiday lights draped across the Aburrá valley, nearly 30 million of them this year, (!) along with 32,000 hand made figures, formed the 2019 El Alumbrado, the festival of lights. The event can't be described with words, only in photos, and witnessing them first hand. The annual celebration brings people from all over the world every holiday season, and is, arguably, the premier festival in Medellin, neighboring cities and parks, and 16 surrounding barrios.


Envigado, a Medellin suburb


Begun in 1967, (with a mere 82,000 lights), the 52nd annual El Alumbrado was, once again, sponsored and supported by EPM, the primary power utility in Medellin and surrounding areas. 










Envigado's streets teemed with people



 El Alumbrado celebrations have sites in Medellin, and all major cities in the Valley of Aburrá


 Opening night, Parque Norte. (Photo Carlos Vélasquez for The Colombiano)


Photos courtesy of the Pazeras @ Latitude Adjustment


 Parque Norte. (Latitude Adjustment photo)


El Alumbrado, literally 'the lighting' in Spanish, began November 29th this year, and closed January 6th. 



 Parque Envigado


The central park in Envigado, a Medellin suburb, may be our favorite place to see the Alumbrado. Envigado seems to pull out all the stops, every year, to attract the most visitors. 





More than lights: A civic celebration 


 Parque del Rio


For the first time in several years El Alumbrado was displayed directly on the Medellin River. The lights highlighted more than the surrounding area, they also showed off the cities new Parque del Rio, an award-winning renewal of a long neglected part of the central city. (A future post will cover the new park)


Nearly 30 million LED lights, 32,000 hand crafted figures like the three Magi on the right, and more than 4 million visitors, including 90,000 from outside Medellin, viewed the lights this year. More than 200 people, including welders, artisans, architects, designers, engineers, and assemblers worked year round to see that El Alumbrado took place on time. One note of interest: The thousands of whimsical figures seen in the display use more than 200 tons of metal paper. The figures are crafted new each year, and sold afterward to neighboring pueblos for their own displays. As festive and illuminating as the lights were this year, their numbers and the display itself were reduced in 2019, due to budget cuts by EPM. But it was hard to tell after viewing the El Alumbrado 2019. Thanks for reading.




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