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Watch: Columbia Holds Its ‘Black & White’ Carnival

origin 1Colorful floats are used during the festival ©AFP TV

Decorated floats paraded through crowds of revelers in Pasto, Colombia, near the southwestern border with Ecuador, during the Carnival of Blacks and Whites.

Thousands of people gather every year from December 28 to January 6 to witness the event.

Presenting itself as a celebration of equality, it has been held for more than a century in a region that is home to many Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities strongly marked by racial and economic inequality.

“Welcome to the only party where face painting is a World Heritage Site,” proclaims the festival’s website.

The practice of blackface, denounced as racist in many countries around the world, is a key element of the festival and aims to celebrate diversity.

“The main days of the carnival are the last two, when people of all ethnicities wear black cosmetics on the first day, then white talc the next day to symbolize equality and integrate all citizens through a celebration of ethnic and cultural difference” , according to UNESCO .

Click on the video above to see more.