Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Bogotá's Secular Holiday Celebration

What's missing from this plaza? 
These days, Plaza Bolivar has multi-colored fountains, holiday music and swinging searchlights - but no Christmas tree.

What's going on? This year, atheist activists protested against the inclusion of Catholicism in official government affairs, and a high court ruled (if I remember correctly) that judges and other officials shouldn't quote the Christian Bible so much in official documents. After all, when the current Constitution was adopted in 1991, Colombia changed from an officially Catholic to a secular nation.

(The Cathedral is still there on the plaza, but maybe the good father'd better watch what he says.)

That's one of my theories about why the huge Christmas tree didn't appear this year. Another could be the way that last year protesters plastered the tree's framework with anti-government political posters.
Fountains and lights on Plaza Bolivar.
El Parque Nacional has lights, but no religious motifs.

The Iglesia San Francisco on Ave. Septima is still there, and still lit up.

This Christmas tree, on Ave. Septima near the Hotel Tequendama, appears to be on public property. 
Ave Septima lighted up.
Fountains on Plaza Bolivar. The music said 'Hallelujah.'
Fountains on Plaza Bolivar. 
Parque de la Independenica.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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