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News > Colombia

Colombia Declares Cumbia as National Heritage

  • A couple dancing cumbia.

    A couple dancing cumbia. | Photo: Twitter/ @jacardo01

Published 18 October 2022

Besides being a musical genre, cumbia involves practices related to the preparation of costumes, stages, and musical instruments.

President Gustavo Petro's administration declared the Caribbean cumbia as cultural heritage of the nation in recognition of the musicians, composers, dancers, and choreographers who have made this cultural manifestation a benchmark for Colombia in the world.


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During the Jose Barros Palomino Cumbia Festival, Culture Minister Patricia Ariza stressed that cumbia deserves important consideration in Colombian history and culture.

"I want to tell you that I am moved and I am eager to help. As Minister of Culture, I am committed to greater recognition of what cumbia means," she said.

The decision was made during the 6th annual session of the National Council of Cultural Heritage. Previously, the Magdalena communities and government, the Jose Barros Foundation and the Culture Ministry prepared a "special safeguard plan" for cumbia.

The tweet reads, "The 38th edition of the National Cumbia Festival is taking place these days at El Banco, Magdalena. This video is of the inauguration in the renovated Santa Marta Theater. A beauty."

"The cumbia is the result of the mixture between Indigenous peoples, Africans and Europeans. Its history consolidated the identity of the Colombian nation and Caribbean peoples," the Culture Ministry stated.

Besides being a musical genre, Caribbean cumbia involves a set of practices and traditions related to the preparation of costumes, stages, and musical instruments, which are part of the rituals and festivals of Colombians.

The declaration of cultural heritage means recognition of the "living memory" of those who have made cumbia part of the history of Colombia.

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