Five hundred peasants carrying exclusively designed floral saddles paraded the streets of Medellin, Colombia’s second largest city, to display their creativity and celebrate the 58th Flower Fair on August 9.
(Soundbite) Natalia Martinez, Manager of Flower Fair
“They are the ones who nurture and defend the saddle-carrying culture, which has been passed from family to family and from generation to generation. This is what is finally rewarded and recognized. They sleep as bearers and wake up as bearers, born as bearers and die as bearers. It is the thing in their souls, in their DNA, and in their lives. This culture is never to lose. Medellin permanently supports this culture.”
The Colombian Ministry of Culture sponsored this year’s parade to help preserve the Intangible Cultural Heritage recognized by the United Nations, as well as encourage the local people to uphold the tradition and develop the floral industry.
(Soundbite) Andrea Posada, Saddle Bearer
“It is a tradition that takes many years. We young people can link to the nice tradition and our blood runs with the history of our ancestors. In a way we all do our parts of this tradition.”
For the celebration, saddle bearers walked more than two kilometers to highlight the importance of the relation between humans and the earth, and stress their efforts to protect and extend the tradition.
(On-Site Sound: Audience Applausing)
Saddle bearing dates back to the colonial times of Colombia, when food and goods could only be transported by people, as the difficult mountainous terrain limited the use of livestock like horses, mules or oxen.