Colombians are passionate, patriotic and proud. Whether it’s the seemingly endless parade of national holidays celebrating independence and victories at battles, the tricolour flags flying proudly or the fierce nationalism on display any time the Colombian national football team plays, Colombians are quick to show their colours.
This also manifests itself at 6am and 6pm every day when all radio stations are obliged to play the Colombian national anthem. Each time I hear it, I can’t help but feel a twang of pride at being an adopted Colombian.
The anthem, “Oh Gloria Inmarcesible (Oh unfading glory)”, was originally edited from a poem by former Colombian president Rafael Nuñez and put to music by Italian opera singer Oreste Sindici. Over the years, many different versions and adaptations were made but the current 11-verse anthem (usually only the chorus and one verse are sung) was first presented to the public in 1887. It quickly became popular and was officially adopted as Colombia’s national anthem in 1920.
Throughout the anthem, there are numerous references to the various parts of Colombia, with Boyaca, Cartagena, the Caribbean and the Andes all getting a mention. Pride at being Colombian and at past victories and battles for independence runs through the whole song and the lyrics speak passionately about sorrow, pain and struggles but also optimistically about overcoming difficulties and the bright future of Colombia.
Perhaps the perfect manifestation of Colombia and its people comes in the chorus:
“In furrows of pain, the good now germinates.”
This highlights the optimistic Colombian spirit, the will to work through adversity and dark times in order to create a better future. And the lyrics continue in this vein:
“The fearful night has ceased. Sublime liberty spills forth its invincible light.”
As far as national anthems go, in my eyes this is a real corker. Maybe I’m being biased – true, I love pretty much everything about Colombia – but the lyrics snd significance of the song seem to awaken feelings of national pride and foster a true sense of Colombian-ness. And why shouldn’t people feel proud to be Colombian? The spectacular beauty of the country, the rich culture, the phenomenal ability of Colombians to always see the light at the end of the tunnel are just some of the reasons why we should sing the anthem proudly, hand on heart and with the unfaltering Colombian spirit that typifies Colombian people.
“And thus the motherland is formed”.
Have a listen and tell me you don’t feel proud to be Colombian (or an honorary Colombian):