If there is something to underline in the Colombian culture, it is its feasts, carnivals and fairs that are celebrated in every town and city of the national territory. But the first Colombian carnival of the year has its place in San Juan de Pasto, the southwestern capital of the Nariño State. The Carnaval de Negros y Blancos (Black and White Carnival), is considered one of the oldest in the Americas.
Old traditions said that the carnival was originated in an insurrection of the African slaves during the Spaniard colony at the beginning of the 15th century in the mines of what is today Antioquia State. The event was celebrated by the slaves, especially of Popayán and the king of Spain approved every 5th of January as a free day. In that day, the slaves could live as they were free men. The Africans used their ancestral music and paint the white people with black color.
In 1854 a family of Popayán brought the feast to Pasto where it would become more important. By 1887 the participants began to use masks and make parades.
This year the festival is back in the beautiful city of San Juan de Pasto, at the feet of the Galeras Volcano. Horses, agricultural products, parades and delegations from different municipalities of Nariño and Putumayo, fill at this moment the streets of the city.
Music can not lack in Colombia: the Plaza of the Carnival is the spot for the youth concert with several local and invited music groups like Aterciopelados, Súper Litio of Cali and La Planta of Bogotá. It is also the place of the International Carnival of Humor.