The start of a new year is not just about fresh goals and aspirations for the people of Colombia, it also marks the beginning of carnival season. This vibrant, four-day extravaganza (the biggest in the world after Rio) may kick off mid-February, but the party atmosphere starts weeks earlier, when enthusiastic participants adding finishing touches to elaborate floats, and rehearsing dancers can be seen on Barranquilla’s streets. Pre-carnival events include the crowning of King Momo (the leader of carnivals) and the Carnival Queen, and the reading of the Lectura del Bando, which serves as a call for citizens to begin celebrating. The Queen leads the first day’s festivities with the main event – the Batalla de Flores – with spectators in fancy dress filling the streets, cheering the passing floats. The Grand Parade on day two features a multi-coloured mass of flamboyant characters bedecked in lavish costumes, all vying for a place in next year’s main event!