By Lisa Flueckiger, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Colombians celebrate their version of Valentine’s Day “Día de Amor y Amistad” (Love and Friendship Day) this Saturday, September 14th. In Rio, the special day will be commemorated with a party in the heart of bohemian neighborhood Lapa, where everyone is welcome to come dance to Latin American favorites from salsa, cumbia and reggaeton.
Opposed to the Western Valentine’s Day on February 14th and Dia dos Namorados on June 12th in Brazil, Colombia traditionally celebrates its romantic day on the third Saturday in September. It is also not exclusive for lovers, but an occasion to show your appreciation for your friends as well.
“Colombians celebrate Love and Friendship Day by sending both their friends and boyfriends/girlfriends cards, similar to the way Valentine’s Day is celebrated in other countries. [But] As opposed to Valentine’s Day, Love and Friendship Day always ends with a group of friends out partying, dancing and drinking all night,” Vanessa Rodrigues, Rumba Tipo Colombia’s producer, explained.
Although Rio is not home to a huge diaspora of Colombians, Rumba Tipo Colombia party organizers have made sure that they won’t miss out on the festivities this year. The Colombian Love and Friendship Day celebrations will start at 10PM in the Clube dos Democráticos in the heart of Lapa and turn into a party for everyone who loves Latin-American music and a cheerful crowd.
Live salsa band Los Inmigrantes directed by Felipe Medina from Cali, Colombia will provide the highlight of the night’s music selection. “Los Inmigrantes focuses on Colombian and Caribbean repertoire, and are made up by musicians from Panama, Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina, Canada and Colombia,” Ms. Rodrigues told The Rio Times.
The band is supported by DJs Juanito Alimaña and DJ Cat who will play everything from classic salsa to modern electro-cumbia.
Dancegroup Aguasalá will entertain the crowd with a bullerengue performance, an Afro-Colombian dance from Colombia’s Atlantic coast. The group led by Johana Salazar Ballén, from Bogotá, Colombia is composed of dancers from all over Latin America and specializes in Afro-Latin dances.
“Colombia is a highly musical country, and any good Colombian rumba (party) involves lots of music and dancing. Salsa, merengue, vallenato, cumbia and reggaeton are all very popular music genres, though preferences change by region — Cali is considered to be the ‘salsa capital of the world’, whereas vallenato is much more popular on the Atlantic coast.”
Party guests also won’t have to dance on an empty stomach as Colombian specialties, such as empanadas, arepas (corn bread), aborrajados (deep fried plantains stuffed with cheese) and lechona (stuffed roast pig) will be served at the venue.
Tickets for the event can be bought in advance at La Vereda shop in Santa Teresa, Tracks in Gávea and Misti House Hostel in Copacabana for R$15 early buyer price and R$20. At the door, entrance will be R$25. During the week, the organizers will also give away tickets on their Facebook page.
What: Colombian Love and Friendship Day party
Where: Clube dos Democráticos, Rua do Riachuelo, 91/93, Lapa
When: Saturday, September 14th, 10PM