Between January 4th and 6th the people of the Colombian city of Pasto celebrate the Blacks and Whites carnival said to be one of the oldest in the Americas. The festivities date back to the 1600's and commemorate a date when the enslaved Africans were given a day of for a taste of freedom and they partied all day.
here is an interesting quote from Wikipedia ...
" Some historians refer that in 1607, there was a slave rebellion in the town of Remedios, Antioquia that made the authorities panic. The event was remembered by the black population of Popayán, Cauca, who demanded a day off, in which they were really free. The King of Spainconceded January 5. It is said that when the news reached home the African population flock to the streets and danced at the rhythm of African music and started to blacken with coal all the white walls of the city.
The enthusiastic celebration was brought to Pasto by the Ayerbe family around 1854. By 1887, the celebration had reached to certain social spheres and acquired a high level of refinement, and people started using costumes and masks. The Castaneda family recreated by the January 4 crewes could be a characterization of the Ayerbe Family."
It amuses me that while in Trinidad the roots of carnival are given to the French and the Catholics and someone at my university argued that Trinidad's carnival came from the Greeks...almost every country in the Americas that has a Carnival has a direct link to African celebrations of freedom...
For a little more info on Colombia's carnivals
and MAS REPUBLIC
or check google.