Moms and Explosives

It’s Mother’s Day in Medellin and it’s time to light some stuff on fire! Fireworks, paper lanterns, and my favorite, paper lanterns filled with fireworks. The sounds of the explosions bounce off the mountains surrounding the city, set off car alarms and drive dogs insane.

Mother’s Day is a very big deal around here. The boys have been talking about it for weeks, and this had me thinking about what I’d want if I could ask for anything for Mother’s Day. The first thing that came to mind was silence. Sometimes I just want it to be quiet for a little bit. If my kids bought a bunch of fireworks in my honor I’d be pissed! Is this just another way I am not like the Colombian mamas? Or maybe the fireworks are like the clay ashtrays and paperweights we used to make for our moms; there’s no nice way to say ‘no thank you, I don’t want that present.’ So they keep blowing things up to show how much they care.

The mom festivities in Medellin also involve a lot of drinking. The police reported 260 altercations before 5 pm, which was an improvement over last year. Those poor, poor mamas. Just take them out for a nice dinner and keep the police out of it! Maybe Colombia should start celebrating Cinco de Mayo, and then everyone could get their booze fueled antics out of their system before Mother’s Day. Or maybe it’s the fact that brunch doesn’t exist here. Introducing the mother’s day brunch might help keep the peace. You can only get so drunk before noon.

Judging by the pyrotechnics, Christmas, Mother’s Day and game day are the most important events in Medellin.  (Not just any game, of course, but I’m not enough of a football fan to know which games are the most important).

When Andrew’s parents were in town we were almost killed by the local team’s celebratory exploding paper ballon. Ok, that’s not true, but we did save one of Medellin’s tourist attractions from burning down. Or at least a tree.  We were enjoying a lovely afternoon at the Castle, once a private home that is now a museum and garden…

day at the castle

The sun was shining, the parrots were showing off….


We spotted Andrew’s doughier doppelgänger…


Andrew with 20 more pounds and a man purse.

And then this, a giant Nacional balloon, with a tail!


And then the tail disappeared.


And fell into a tree in a ball of fire.


The tail got caught in a tree and sent sparks to the ground, lighting some hay bales and dry grass on fire. I thought it would be best to alert the security guard. He thought it best to spread the fire around with a dry leaf.



A police officer got in on the action with some casual foot-tapping. Sam was in his underwear because he fell in a fountain earlier.


Man eventually prevailed over fire and the castle was saved!




Andrew climbed the tree and claimed a souvenir. Andrew’s parents question his decisions in life.

Happy Mother’s Day all! I hope your day was as eventful or uneventful as you hoped it would be.  I dedicate this fireball to you.