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Yipao- Colombia’s parade of their beloved Willys Jeep loaded with everything you can think of …

Alex .A

In the coffee scented country of Colombia, the locals praise a rather unlikely icon- the Willys Jeep.  The American military vehicle of World War 2 is a ubiquitous vehicle in the coffee growing regions in Colombia. However, the Colombians regard the Jeeps differently than vehicles used for transporting  bulky loads of cargo. In, fact, every’ year in the  small towns where coffee farming is an integral part of life, there is a folkloric parade called “Yipao”, honoring the Willy Jeep which has become a beloved symbol of the coffee growers culture.


The Colombians were introduced to the Willys Jeep at the end of the Second World War in 1946 when they were imported by the Colombian Ministry of Defense for military purposes. The first Jeeps were M38 and CJ-2A models.  The Colombian coffee farmers saw this vehicle as perfect with all the  qualities needed for the unpaved roads on the hilly coffee mountains, and soon the Jeep became the most popular vehicle in this corner of the world.




El Yipao.Source

El Yipao.Source



Jeep loaded with plantains.Source

Jeep loaded with plantains.Source


Before the introduction of the Willys Jeep, the only transportation in the hilly mountains was by mules, that’s why the Colombians now dubbed the Jeeps “mulitas mecánicas” or mechanical mules. Beside carrying massive piles of coffee bags, the locals of the small and rural area use the “Yipao”  for moving, by loading the vehicle with literally everything that they possess.  So, the Yipao is of a major significance in the everyday life of many Colombians. They dubbed it Yipao because of the local pronunciation of the word Jeep.


Source: Santiago Restrepo Calle/Flickr



To show their appreciation and to celebrate the utility of this iconic vehicle, every summer hundreds of Jeeps fully loaded with literally everything that the local got hands on  “cat-walk”  on the streets in the small coffee towns.The parade is also a sort of a contest to see who has the most loaded Jeep. Sometimes, the Jeeps has so much weight that the front wheels barely touches the ground.


Source: Santiago Restrepo Calle/Flickr

The first edition of the parade was organized by Mrs Joan Jaramillo, headmistress of protocol of the Quindio Governor’s office in 1988.


The event has several categories,  according to the products carried in the vehicles:

Agricultural products- Loading the Jeeps with ridiculously amounts of coffee bags, local products, plantains.

Furniture- The Jeep  is pilled with tropical house hold items that consist of everything from a TV Set to a over-sized Jesus Art. This category is certainly the most picturesque and of a kitchy yet charming nature.

The vehicles are driven by the main streets of the city and the Jeeps with the largest amount of objects carried with the most harmonious arrangements earn prizes.





yipao-columbia-32Source: Ministerio TIC Colombia/Flickr


If you find this rather odd subculture charming, why not use this technique for your next “Moving Day?”