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The first day of December in Medellin is always special. I always had been told that it something that you will not see anywhere else… and they were right. For my first time, I have to say it was amazing to see.

December 1st is always known as alborada. What happens is on the last day of November, everyone in Medellin gathers together and set off fireworks at 12:00 A.M. of December 1st. When I say everyone in Medellin, I mean everyone, from down to Envigado all the way up to Bello. The amazing thing about Alborada is it is ran and organized by the residents not local authorities or government.

first day of december in Medellin

Alborada 2015 Photo: Joel Duncan

To get the best view of everything it is best to go to a mirador (top of the world) or on top of the rooftop of your building like I did.

Now there is a backstory behind the celebration. Actually, I have heard different stories for the reason of the celebration. Some say it is to celebrate the month of December has arrived, some have told me to it has to do with Pablo Escobar (which I really hope it isn’t and I did not believe for one bit), others mentioned that it had to do with the demobilization of 849 Nutibara paramilitary members. Whatever the real reason may be, celebrating the first day of December in Medellin is an amazing experience to witness.

Against Alborada

Even within all this great celebration, there are many people who oppose the event. This year many people used social media as away to protest Alborada. One of their main reasons for protesting is how loud it gets. The loud explosions of fireworks scares their pets and traumatizes them. Another reason why they protest is because people shoot off fireworks all night long causing people not to sleep. The most obvious reason is that it can be dangerous causing people to get harmed by the fireworks.

My First Day of December in Medellin Thoughts

My opinion… is that it is awesome. I have never experienced anything like it before. I was in Poblado at the time and I could see the whole city light up in fireworks. If you want to really experience Alborada then I suggest going to one of the barrios for it. There you will really get a sense of what Alborada is.