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The Congo maintain their own culture, the most “colorful” manifestation of which takes place in January and February of each year when the Congo flag flies over the “palenques,” the name given to enclaves of the free Congo People. During the celebration, characters such as Pajarito, Mamá Guarda, the Priest, the Spirit, the Archangel, and the Devils surround the Queen and Juan de Dios. The women dress in colorful skirts made from scraps of fabric and the men paint their faces or wear masks and speak in the Congo dialect. The women sing the men beat drums, and everyone moves together in a sensual, theatrical dance that represents stories from their history. It all comes to an end on Ash Wednesday with the baptism of the “Devils,” who have spent the past two months torturing the Congos and using their whips

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