Christmas lights in Medellin, known in Spanish simply as the “Lighting” (El Alumbrado) or more officially the EPM Lights (Alumbrados EPM), is a traditional seasonal event in Medellin, Colombia, where the city hangs millions of Christmas lights and holds light shows and other cultural events. Since the 1990s, the main locations of the lights have been on and around the Medellin River and La Playa Avenue, although the event has expanded to include over one hundred other locations around the city. The event usually lasts from the beginning of December until the beginning of January, and the lights are designed and sponsored by Empresas Públicas de Medellin (EPM), the city’s public utilities company. Because of its attraction to tourists, the event has gotten bigger each year, with a widening availability of energy resources and budgets, and increasing participation by local citizens. The ceremony traditionally began on 7 December, the Day of the Little Candles and the unofficial start to the Christmas season in Colombia. However, in recent years the lighting has begun sooner to accommodate the increase in tourism. All recreational parks and all the museums have free entry for children under 12 years old, and the Museum of Antioquia admission is free for everyone during this season. In the month of December 2012, the Lighting of Medellin was selected among the top ten cities to view holiday lights by the National Geographic website.
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