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 in late 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.