Every two years, from January 4 to 9, in odd-numbered years, the Carnaval del Diablo, or Devil’s Carnival, is convoked in the town of Riosucio. It is a true specimen of tradition, where the racial mixing of the Colombian people is evident in a great recreational feast where reality is made mock of and becomes transformed by the magic exerted by dances, costumes, words, poetry, and music.
Back in colonial times, great enmity arose between two towns: Quiebralomo Real de Minas and La Montaña. The people of the former – one of the richest mining towns of the 16th century and managed by Spaniards in service to their King – were of mixed black and white ancestry; the latter was inhabited by Indians.
After a century of confrontations and thanks to two Catholic priests who threatened the inhabitants of the two towns with eternal damnation if they continued at war, they decided to share their territory and gave rise to the present town of Riosucio.
In 1847, to seal their peace agreement, the Three Magi festivities were celebrated jointly. Soon, they would change their character, because the guardian of peace, who would always be there to remind them of their promise to the priests, was the devil. A mestizo devil who obtained his nourishment from ancestral African dances, Indian ceremonies in honor of the sun and the earth, and the traditions of the Europeans who arrived seeking liberty and found their paradise in America.
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