Columbian Drinking Chant

Main Piece: 

Participant – “In Columbia we would um… we would have a… like in Christmas we would drink a lot like in December, in the summer like it’s just a social thing and everyone…to gather around everyone knows this one chant, which is…


‘Pa’riba, pa’bajo, pa’centro, pa’dentro’


…which essentially, it rhymes, and it means ‘up, down, to the middle, and then in’ so like you would all, like everyone would put their glasses up and put their hand up, hand down, and then you would cheers in the middle and then just down it, and I don’t know it’s just always been like even if the moods down a little bit, once one person starts it, it just brings the whole party up and like the atmosphere just completely gets like super hype.”


The participant shared this chant with me after another one of our friends showed us a drinking song that everyone sang at home. Even though the participant is no longer in Columbia I have still seen her do this chant here and teach it to friends, sharing the tradition.


The participant has grown up in many parts of the world, she was originally born in Columbia but moved to the California Bay Area and grew up there until she was 12. After that, her family moved to Paris, France where she went to high school until at age 16 her family moved to Hong Kong. Now the participant is a second semester student at the University of Southern California in the School of Dramatic Arts. Both of her parents were born in Columbia and her family goes back every Christmas and Summer. This chant is common knowledge among all of the participants family and is common all over Columbia.           


Although this could be seen as just a drinking chant, the importance comes through in the meaning it holds to the participants. They all find it to be a common source of bonding and it helps them feel more connected in social situations. This is common with many drinking songs as it creates a sense of togetherness and makes you feel part of a group.