Pasto, Colombia: The Foam and Greasepaint of El Carnaval de Negros y Blancos

What great festivals! I love learning about the various Latin American festivals, and this town has two in a row- one for getting over last year’s grievances, and one celebrating multiculturalism. Thank you, Ann Crandall.


55KBStanding on the street, I was already saturated from head to toe with white foam, flour and the blue greasepaint that a passer-by smeared on my face when suddenly an angelic looking little girl took aim with her over-sized can of foam and sprayed me with yet more “espuma.” Then she turned and doused her laughing grandfather with another squirt from her can. Such is the playful scene happening everywhere on the streets of Pasto, Colombia during its January 2-7 boisterous festival known as El Carnaval de Negros y Blancos (The Carnaval of Blacks and Whites)  – a festival designated as a UNESCO Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity and a celebration not for the shy or faint of heart.  I had seen my share of staid festivals in other countries that required little more than watching and admiring. I had come to Pasto to take part…

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