Is believed that the word cumbia comes from the african term "cumbé", which means celebration. It is not only another tradicional colombian dance, it´s development was a whole historical process that came from the mulattage, because it was the testimony of the struggle that the black men had in order to conquer the indigene women during the colonial times.
About 35 years ago, between the first days of December, during a party at the María Luz Saucedo´s restaurant, Maximiliano Guerra, Jhon Alvarado, Orlando Ramos and Jose Ignacio Mejia as to congregate their village, they had the idea of going to the town of Botón, to hire some "milleros" and so give life to what for more than three decades has been called "La Cumbia del 30".
Everything starts a few days before December 30th, when the “Jhonson”, which are small motorized canoes, begin arriving to the village with all the merchandise for the festivities, where large amounts of alcohol and food come with some visitors from others nearby villages that get to the town for this great celebration. Some children from the village that work on “Ciclo-Taxis”, are the ones who pick up these merchandise and distribute it around the village.
The roosters, that are the animal alarm from this region are overshadowed by the explosion of gunpowder that warn the village that it is the 30th, that already is the day of the cumbia. Throughout the day, the Guerra family which is one of the most ancient in the village and one of the participants who created and developed this festivity, are the ones that warn the village with these handmade fireworks, while they prepare the square in front of their houses where the dance is made. At about 5 in the afternoon, the men from the Guerra family bring a plantain palmtree of about 3 meters high and they cut the tip of the leaves, as tradition dictates in the cumbia at the region, they dig a hole in the ground so they can bury it and the women from the family are the ones who begin decorating it.
Between 7 and 8 in the night, the milleros arrive to the village going all over it in a car while they play their instruments to cheer up the people with their fiesta, when they reach the Guerra family's house where everything is already prepared to start the party. Until ‘el mono’ arises, as some guamaleros say, to the tune of the milleron they dance, laugh and get drunk and between drinks and dances the families are reunited, as some had to leave the village to look for better lives, but they come back to share this tradition, which has not lost its charm and remains a symbol of union in the small region of Guamal, Magdalena.
Guamal, Magdalena, Colombia, 2015