There has been a lot of talk about Colombians being the happiest people in the world since it ranked #1 on the list of happiest countries in the world according to the Barometer of Happiness and Hope survey for two years.1 While there are many reasons one could speculate for why Colombians have been declared the happiest people in the world, today, I am going to share and explain my own reasons for why I think this is true.
Festivos (Holidays) and Celebrations
Colombians love celebrating! On average, Colombians enjoy around 20 days of national holidays a year plus another average of 15 days of paid vacation through their place of employment. Likewise, there are a plethora of regional holidays that are celebrated which lead to more vacation days. Some of these regional holidays include: Barranquilla’s Carnival, Festival de las flores en Medellin (Medellin’s Flower Festival), Feria de Cali (Cali’s Fair), Festival Iberoamericano de Teatro (Ibero-American Theatre Festival), Festival de San Pacho (San Pacho Festival),Festival de la Cultura Wayuu (Festival of Wayuu Culture), and Villavicencio’s Festival Llanero (Plains Festival).
Concept of Time
Colombians have a very relaxed concept of time that allows them to experience lower levels of stress in relation to work, schedules, and life in general. Colombians tend to take things as they come, not worry about exactly when things will happen, and avoid strict planning of events. They are also more flexible when it comes to changing plans and events that have been scheduled, more open to accepting cancelations, and more forgiving of tardiness or absences.
Focus on People Transactions
Related to the concept of time Colombians have is their focus on people or human transactions. Colombians value and focus more on the people involved in a particular moment rather than on the amount of time passing (or not passing). For most Colombians, for example, it is more acceptable and instinctive to be late to an event, have to cancel plans, or change their schedule if it means first finishing an important conversation with someone or taking advantage of a particular moment that has presented itself involving a person. This mind-set makes people feel more appreciated and valued.
Genuine National Pride
Colombians tend to exhibit a level of genuine national pride much higher than that I have observed in other countries. Colombians have a lot to be proud of, and they seem to know that. Colombians are not afraid of boasting about Colombian Spanish being the best in the Spanish-speaking world, they are not modest about describing the incredible natural beauty of their country, and they are certainly not shy about confirming Colombian coffee and emeralds as the finest in the world. Despite several turbulent economic, political, and social occurrences in Colombia’s history, Colombian’s are still full of pride for their country and are not ashamed to show it.
Bearing all this in mind, why Colombians wouldn’t be happy?
Hasta la próxima,
Paige M. Poole