From July 28 until August 8, the most important festival of Antioquia takes over the city: The Flowers Fair 2017. This fair celebrates its essence around the Silleteros* parade, which represents the collective spirit of our cultural expressions with a diverse exhibition of orchids, birds, flowers and bonsais; the festival of trovas*; concerts; and tours in Santa Elena. The Fair is the seal that best translates Antioquia’s energy and the vocation of Paisas* as hosts of Medellín.
This year we celebrate is the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Silleteros parade; a tradition as noble and beautiful as the elaboration of silletas* especially made for this event. The Silleteros Parade has been a ritual for the last six decades, and began with a score of exhibitors that marched from Plaza de Cisneros and toured around the center of Medellín.
The Silleteros tradition was born in the village of Santa Elena. It is a ritual nourished by local families who have tried to transmit the life of the Silleta from generation to generation – such as the Atehortúa, Londoño, Grisales, Zapata, Grajales and Alzate family. The Silleteros Parade started 60 years ago with 20 silleteros, and has grown to as many as 500 silleteros and up to 600 children who participate every year.
The figure of the Silletero goes back to colonial times and was common in other countries with similar geographical conditions to our mountainous valley. The use of saddle made it possible to transport goods, but with the construction of new roads and highways, this job disappeared. However, the Silleteros parade in Antioquia has been preserved as a cultural treasure that shows our people´s talent, skills, and creativity.
This year, the Silleteros Parade will be held on Monday, August 7; and will have a two-kilometer tour and the participation of 16 Silleteros that have been pioneers of this tradition; 404 adults; 50 young people; and 30 children. There is no doubt this will be a tribute to our history and the wealth of our Silletero tradition.
*Silleta: A flower saddle that weights between 90 to 120 kilos
*Silletero: A person who manufactures and carries flower saddles
*Paisa: A person born in Antioquia
*Trova: A simple rhyming song that is used to express personal experience