Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Egipto's Celebration of the Three Kings (Fiesta de los Reyes Magos)

Not sophisticated fun, but fun.
Normally, the Egipto neighborhood, above La Candelaria, where tourists do not dare wander, is known for poverty and social troubles. But for a few days in early January, Egipto becomes a center of attencion as it celebrates the Festival of the Three Kings who came to visit the newborn Jesus.

Thousands of people fill the street, to listen to music, eat cholestrol-packed foods, drink beer and chicha and play street games. Oh, yes, there's also religion - an impressive parade, a mass and the burning of the devil at the festival's close. This year, unfortunately, I caught the festival, but not much of the religion. (Most of the other partyers, didn't appear to be looking for religion, either.) See Bogotá Bike Tours' visit here.

Here's a shot, from a previous year, of the kings and other royalty assembled on the church's steps. Local men dressed as Roman gladiators also lined the steps. Then came the mass. The Egipto neighborhood, with one of the city's oldest churches, appears to be quite Catholic - at least on this day, anyway.

And below are some of this year's royalty, in all their pageantry.

Young royals.
Lots of chicha, a traditional drink made of fermented corn.
Ready to cut the beef.
Doña Rosa and friend in the Mercado de Egipto
The view downhill from Egipto
Bike Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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