Colombia’s Carnival of the Devil is a great excuse to head for warmer climes for a spot of authentic South American culture.
One of the most dramatic of Colombia’s calendar of traditional festivals, the five-day Carnaval de Riosucio Caldas ou del Diablo is held in Riosucio every second year, coinciding with the first Friday of January. And, at odds with many other South American festivals, the devil is actually the hero of this tale.
Legend has it that the two villages of Real de Mines and Nuestra Señora de La Montaña in Riosucio were bitter enemies, with frequent battles breaking out between their populations. Eventually, two Catholic priests intervened, threatening eternal damnation if the conflict continued.
The bi-annual festival now celebrates the more whimsical side of Beelzebub, who represents human weakness and unsatisfied longing. During the colorful celebration, which was first held in 1847, tributes are offered to the Devil by local poets, artists, and playwrights, with parades, fireworks, bullfights, and dancing also taking place.
Elements of indigenous tribes have also been adopted into the carnival of the devil, with the Devil, depicted in masks and effigies, boasting the eyes of the sacred jaguar.
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