Thousands are expected to take part in the annual carnival in the southern Colombian town of Pasto which is held from January 2 to 7.
The carnival, which occurs as part of the famous and nationally protected “Blancos y Negros” celebrations, will this year be supported by various educational institutes and cultural organizations.
According to Caracol Radio, this year will be different from previous events as children will receive incentives for their participation and more than 2,000 are expected to take part.
The parade and general festive spirit has taken over the town, and both residents and tourists seem to have put the warnings generated by the current eruption of nearby Galeras volcano to the back of their minds.
The “Blancos y Negros” celebrations, which dates back to the colonial era, kicked off on Saturday with a tribute to the “Virgen de las Mercedes”, and representatives of rural farming communities from the surrounding Nariño department raised a prayer to the patron saint of Pasto in a moving ceremony followed by an offering of flowers and fruits.
The festivities are being monitored by some 800 security officers who will maintain a presence throughout the parades, street performances and crowded events during the festival.