Across Nariño, A Week of Joyous Mayhem
02.01.2015 - 06.01.2015 50 °F
The Carnaval de Negros y Blancos is held annually throughout the province of Nariño in southwestern Colombia the first week of January.
The roots of this festival date to pre-Columbian times when the Quillacingas, the people native to this area, held a harvest celebration. After a slave rebellion in 1607, the Spanish Crown granted African slaves "a day of freedom" set as January 5th annually. This tradition is now commemorated as el Día de Negros. The modern date carnival which dates to 1912 incorporates this tradition. The message of carnival is to see what it is like to live in another's persons shoes. It is colorful and dynamic.
Each town in Nariño has its own variant of the Carnival though each keeping within its basic theme. In 2009 UNESCO designated the Carnival de Negros y Blancos as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
This video depicts the festivities in Túquerres, the fourth largest city in Nariño and the highest city in Colombia nestled in an intermontane valley at 10,200 feet (3100 meters) in the Andes. The floats in the main parade which in Túquerres is held on January 6th of each year compete for cash prizes (and honor). There are three classes: floats that are man-powered, floats that are wheeled and floats that are on lorries or pulled by a tractor.
Beyond the parade of dancers and floats, the Carnaval is joyous mayhem.