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Community Lanceras 2021-2022 corsage in Cartagena. Photo: Institute of Heritage and Culture of Cartagena.
The Lanceras Comunitarias 2021-2022 corsage in Cartagena. Photo: Institute of Heritage and Culture of Cartagena.

This is how the people of Cartagena celebrated independence

In November, Cartagena celebrates its independence and the streets are filled with festivities. This is how the celebration was experienced in the city.  

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Although the independence of Cartagena is officially commemorated on Nov. 11, the celebrations begin in the last week of October with the prelude — a cultural event full of music and parades — and close with the crowning of an independence queen. 
 
This year, after celebrating the 2020 independence festivities virtually, Cartageneros had the opportunity to relive the festive spirit with various concerts, parades and plays in the squares of the historic center of the city. 
 
On Friday, Nov. 12, one day after commemorating of the independence of the 'Heroic City,' the closing ceremony was held with the election of the queen of independence called Lanceras Comunitarias. Twenty-five candidates from different neighborhoods in the city participated, and the winner was a 22-year-old Angelica Blanco Balseiro, from Nelson Mandela. Over the next year, she will work for the culture of Cartagena. 
 
"I am proud of my representation for my Nelson Mandela neighborhood, and now also proud to represent all Cartagenerans," said Blanco as part of her first speech. "I hope to work for my community and for Cartagena as a leader."
In addition to the crowning of the new queen, this year's closing ceremony also featured a performance from twins Criss and Ronny — Cartageneros dedicated to the champeta genre — Esteban Nieto, a vallenato singer; and El Caribefunk, a local group of Caribbean fusion music with North American funk.
 
Throughout the celebration, activities were carried out by the Escuela de Formación Festiva, which seek to continue fostering the sense of belonging of the people of Cartagena to their city to keep the tradition alive year after year. 
 
The Independence Festivities embody the living metaphor of independence and are at the same time, one of the most crucial patrimonial expressions of Cartagena. They arose as the result of an insurgent political manifestation and the participation of the subaltern sectors of the city.
 
They began to be celebrated spontaneously since 1812 (the year after the independence), and today, are the confluence of traditional artistic expressions emerged in the colonial environment, among which are the cumbia, the gaitas, the African cabildos, the congo, the mapalé, the fandangos de lenguas; and contemporary with expressions of the republican and modern historical evolution.
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