In the Western world, Christmas is celebrated in December, but in Quinamayó, a town located in the Colombian Pacific region, the largely Afro-Colombians celebrate the holiday in mid-February.
The doll is followed by singers, children wearing angel costumes and ‘soldiers’ who “protect the newborn Black God during the parade so that it arrives safe and sound,” event coordinator Holmes Larrahondo told EFE.
He explained that Colombians did not allow enslaved Afro-Colombians to celebrate Christmas with them on December 25th.
“They gave us any other day of the month, so we decided on the date after the 45 days that Mary can dance with us,” he explained.
During the festivities, followers perform the traditional ‘fuga,’ which imitates the movements of their enslaved ancestors. The celebration goes into the early morning. Fuga performances emulate the movement of enslaved Black people, who had to shuffle their feet because “they did not have much freedom” to move around the streets.
The ‘Star of the East’ is another important symbol in the religious party, which guides followers to where the Child was born.