Cultural diversity in living colour

When it comes to championing racial harmony, the Colombians do it in style during the Black and White Carnival.

The annual event draws tens of thousands of revellers to the city of Pasto.

The largest festival in the southwestern region of the country has its origins in a mix of Andean, Amazonian and Pacific cultural expressions. It is celebrated every year from Jan 2 to 6 in Pasto, and has been on Unesco's list of intangible cultural heritage since 2009.

It started off as an occasion for African slaves to hold their rituals and festivals.

Today, it symbolises equality of all people and races.

On Black day, participants of all ethnicities paint each other black.

Similarly, on White day, people paint each other white.

There is a lot of music, dancing in the streets, elaborate floats and colourful costumes as the people celebrate their cultural diversity and channel their desire for unity among people of different races.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 05, 2019, with the headline 'Cultural diversity in living colour'. Print Edition | Subscribe