Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Ingas' Carnaval of Pardon

Ingas wave the Colombian flag in front of Congress this afternoon.
Inga indigenous people from Putumayo Department paraded across Plaza Bolivar today as part of their annual Carnaval del Perdón, which they celebrate together with the neighboring Catmëntsa people. Despite its name, the carnaval seems to be more of a celebration of the peoples' traditions, cultures and languages. Perhaps the pardon refers to peace between the peoples, who may have once made war on each other.

The Inga were once part of the Inca Empire. Today, they live by farming, hunting and gathering and trade, both in Putumayo and Colombia's cities. But the Putumayo region has suffered from Colombia's drug-financed internal conflict, and indigenous people in particular have been driven off of their land, seen their children recruited by armed groups and lost their culture and traditions.

An Inga man plays the flute.

Little Inga drummer girl.

Mixing the traditional and virtual: Inga people with a smartphone.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours


Karen said...

Hi Mike,

It seems that Clestrinye (“Carnaval del Perdón”) is an ancient celebration kept for centuries in the Valley of Sibundoy in Putumayo (the Amazonian department of Colombia), a home to two closely allied indigenous groups, the Inga and Kamentsá. The annual carnival extends over several days with Tuesday (before Ash Wednesday) as a day of the public procession when Indians from the whole area gather and parade from the countryside to the center of the Sibundoy town. Reaching the plaza, they enter the church for the festive Mass and dance, eat and drink in the cabildo (the tribal council office) afterwards, till the morning next day. Although the ritual has indigenous origins, the Catholic religion elements (carrying the Saint Mary statues) have been introduced and merged with the shamanistic tradition (with the Yagé ritual at the center). Celebrating the collaboration, peace and unity between tribes, the Inga and Kamentsá people believe that anyone who offended anyone may ask for forgiveness this day and all of them should grant pardons.

Source: http://www.jansochor.com/photo-blog.aspx?id=indigenous-carnival-amazonia-colombia

Miguel said...

Hi Karen,

Thanks for the information. I wonder whether anybody knows the origins of the Carnaval del Perdón. It certainly is a mix of traditional indigenous and Catholic traditions.

One thing is for sure. The ones who really need to ask the indigenous people's pardon are the white Europeans.