In no other part of the word have I found a similar cultural display as I have in the mixing of races on the American continent
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The Carnival of Blacks and Whites in Pasto /Pic. elroquero
The Carnival of Blacks and Whites, proclaimed National Cultural Heritage in 2002, is celebrated every year between January 4 and 6 in Pasto, an Andean city located in southwestern Colombia, attracting a large number of tourists from all over the country and the world.
Historically, the city of Pasto has been the crossroads and the meeting place for various peoples and colonies.
Considered the single most significant event in the country for cultural expression of different races, the Blacks and Whites Carnival is an unforgettable experience.
This is why the celebration of the carnival is an autochthonous cultural sample that perfectly expresses all the cultural influences that have been in play in the region for centuries: rituals and cultural expressions of Indian, Spanish, and African cultures.
The origin of the carnival dates back to the ancient times of the agrarian Indian cultures of the Pasto and Quillacinga Indians, who held celebrations in honor of their moon goddess as a way of pleading protection for their crops.
Over the course of time, elements from Spanish festivities were added; and later, elements from African feasts, thus consolidating what we call the Carnival of Blacks and Whites.
Little by little, other elements were added: make-up, talcum powder, and music. And foremost, the floats with gigantic sculptures built by artisans:
We are surrounded by art, in color, in pape,r and everything else that art encompasses. Returning to the carnival or being in the carnival is an experience. [...] We continue to be children and, as such, we continue playing in the carnival. /Luces y Sombras del Carnaval, Germán Zaruma, in the article entitled Los artesanos de Carlos Riascos Erazo/
The carnival is composed of four stages:
For additional information, we invite you to visit the festival’s official website at www.carnavaldepasto.org.