Carnaval de Negros y Blancos
Inscribed in 2009 (4.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
Arising out of native Andean and Hispanic traditions, the Carnaval de negros y blancos (Black and White Carnival) in San Juan de Pasto in south-western Colombia is a great celebration lasting from 28 December to 6 January each year. The celebrations begin on the 28th with the Carnival of Water − the throwing of water in homes and on the streets to initiate a festive mood. On New Year’s Eve, the Old Year’s parade takes place, with marchers carrying satirical figures representing celebrities and current events, and culminating in a ritual burning of the passing year. The main days of the carnival are the last two, when people of all ethnicities don black cosmetics on the first day, then white talcum on the next to symbolize equality and integrate all citizens through a celebration of ethnic and cultural difference. The Black and White Carnival is a period of intense communion, when private homes become collective workshops for the display and transmission of carnival arts and a wide range of people come together to express their views of life. The festival is especially important as the expression of a mutual desire for a future of tolerance and respect.
Decision 4.COM 13.28
The Committee (…) decides that [this element] satisfies the criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, as follows:
- R.1: The Carnaval de Negros y Blancos provides a high sense of identity and continuity to the community that transmits it to the next generation, making the element a mainstay of its heritage and an important means of social integration;
- R.2: Inscription on the Representative List would enhance the element’s role in raising awareness and creating social cohesion, reinforcing the carnival’s function of social expression and encouraging respect and intercultural dialogue among communities;
- R.3: The State, the carnival’s corporation, Corpocarnaval, and the communities involved have prepared a coherent safeguarding plan to be implemented in a participatory manner and with the full commitment of all to safeguard and develop the carnival;
- R.4: The element was nominated with the participation of the community, while respecting customary practices governing access to knowledge of the carnival, and free, prior and informed consent has been certified in letters signed by community representatives;
- R.5: The element is included in an inventory of the immaterial cultural heritage in the Municipality of Pasto.
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