Into its second decade as one of this city’s most visited attractions, the Christmas lights festival organized by the mayoralty and the city’s electricity company Codensa, turned on the switch and the so-called ‘Christmas Route’ – La Ruta de la Navidad – is paved this year with 12 million twinkling Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). Sounds romantic, doesn’t it? Streets, parks and plazas are transformed until January 6th in a burst of energy capturing the imagination of Bogotanos, and an electrifying experience that has become a highlight of end-of-year traditions.

This year, the Christmas route follows in the footsteps of 17 years of experience extending its way from the Plaza Bolívar to Usaquén in the north, where in the colonial square, more wintery lights sparkle and dazzle. In the pedestrian area of the Zona T near the cluster of malls Andino, Retiro and Atlantis Plaza, the wintery cityscape switches on at 6:30 p.m., and every hour on the hour, there will are shows and Christmas stories told from a “Talking tree.” Very Tolkian, I say.

By using these LEDs, Codensa claims that during the 36 days of the illumination, the entire energy consumption is the equivalent of 15 minutes of what the capital consumes in 15 minutes, on any given day. With these LEDs installed across Bogotá, this spectacle will be enjoyed by millions and without draining our damns and power reserves.

The inauguration of the Christmas Route was accompanied by a free choral concert by the OFB (Bogotá Philharmonic Orchestra), as well as a spectacular fireworks from Colombia’s main square to the Parque Simon Bolívar. Stroll the Plaza Bolívar and admire this year’s Christmas tree. We hope that with all the lights switched on at Mayoralty, Petro may be home.

Christmas in Colombia is a festive time where families  gather to recite the traditional Novena: the advent prayers which celebrates the nine days before the arrival of infant Jesus. The nativity songs, villancicos, accompany the verses from the Novena de Aguinaldos and this year, part of the Christmas Route offers the faithful the chance for a sing along as novenas will be read in different parks.

Whether heading out of town or staying in Bogotá for the end of year holidays, take advantage of the Christmas Route. It’s always an impressive effort by local government and private enterprise to bring joy to the capital, and warm up the chilly hearts of Bogotanos.