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Transcript of Peruvian Festivals
The feast of corpus christiThe festival of Corpus Christi has been celebrated all over Peru since colonial times. Sixty days after Easter Sunday, the members of each nearby church bear their patron saint in a procession to the chimes of the Mara Angola, Peru's largest church bell, forged in a copper-gold alloy in the sixteenth century by local artisan Diego Arias de Cerda.At night everyone gathers together, for an overnight vigil, where typical dishes such as chiriuchu (spicy guinea pig), beer, chicha and cornbread are served.Then the saints enter the Cathedral to receive homage, after which representatives and authorities from various communities of Cuzco meet in the main square to discuss local affairs. Finally, the delegations return to the churches amidst hymns and prayers.
Star of the snowIt is held to celebrate the snow of the mountain glaciers and a miracle. Two hundred years ago Jesus appeared before a child.
Our lord of miraclesThis procession, which gathers together the largest number of believers in South America, dates back to colonial times, when a slave, brought over from Angola, drew the image of a black Christ on the walls of a wretched hut in the plantation of Pachacamilla, near Lima.As a result of this event, worship of the image rose to new heights, until it became what is today the most widely venerated image in the city of Lima. The heart of the celebration is one of the largest processions to take place every year in the Americas, where tens of thousands of the faithful dress in purple tunics, singing hymns and praying as they accompany the image.The litter which bears the painting weighs two tons and is borne on the shoulders of believers who set out on the traditional 24-hour procession from the church of Las Nazarenas, crossing downtown Lima until it reaches the church of La Merced in Barrios Altos. Around this time of year, the streets fill with vendors of a wide variety of typical dishes and sweets, such as the famous Turrn de Doa Pepa.In October to commemorate the Lord of Miracles (Seor de los Milagros), Lima hosts the well-known bullfight season which carries the same name and is held in the centuries-old Plaza de Acho bullring.
All saints dayOn these days, which are dedicated to the memory of the dead, Peruvians tend to attend Mass and then in coastal communities, head to the cemetery, bringing flowers and in the highlands, food to share symbolically with the souls of the dead.Also attending are relatives who have lost a very young child or niece or nephew. When these people meet a child who looks like the deceased, they give him or her small breadrolls, candied sweet potato or coconut and other sweets wrapped in finely-decorated bags, which are called "angels".At night, the relatives hold a candlelight vigil in the cemetery until dawn on November 2.
Entrega de varasAt the start of every year, the elders of each community in the area (the yayas) come together to designate the candidates who are to become the highest authorities of their villages: the Varayocs.chiarajeThe tradition of staging ritual battles to ensure the fertility of the land lives on in a remote part of the department of Cusco. Here, every year the peaceful villagers of Checcas, Langui and Layo stage an impressive battle. Armed with hardened lambswool slings, leather whips and waistcoats decorated with flowers, young warriors taunt each other in the mist or amidst pelting hailstorms. This is pucllay, or war games, where the name of the game is to control as much territory as possible and force the enemy to retreat.Marinera dance festivalThe marinera is one of the most elegant dances in Peru. The dance involves a great deal of flirting between a couple, who each twitch a handkerchief in their right hand, while keeping the beat during what is fairly complex choreography.
Virgen de la candelariaFor 18 days, the highland town of Puno, nestled on the shores of Lake Titicaca, is becomes the Folk Capital of the Americas.The festival gathers more than 200 groups of musicians and dancers to celebrate the Mamacha Candelaria. For the first nine days, the mayordomos (those in charge of organizing the festivities), decorate the church and pay for Mass, banquets and fireworks displays.On the main day, February 2, the virgin is led through the city in a colorful procession comprising priests, altar boys, the faithful, Christians and pagans carefully maintaining the hierarchy. This is the moment when the troupes of musicians and dancers take the scene, performing and dancing throughout the city. The festival is linked to the pre-Hispanic agricultural cycles of sowing and harvesting, as well as mining activities in the region. It is the result of a blend of respectful Aymara gaiety and ancestral Quechua seriousness.The dance of the demons, or diablada, the main dance of the festival, was allegedly dreamed up by a group of miners trapped down a mine who, in their desperation, resigned their souls to the Virgen de la Candelaria. The dancers, blowing zampoa pan-pipes and clad in spectacular costumes and outlandish masks, make their offerings to the earth goddess Pachamama. The most impressive masks, for their terrifying aspect, are those of the deer fitted with long twisted horns similar to the Devil, and Jacancho, the god of minerals.During the farewell, or cacharpari, the dancers who fill the streets finally head to the cemetery to render homage to the dead.
tInca de vacasThis festival, which is linked to the Apostle Santiago (St. James), culminates in cattle-branding.This ceremony, celebrated only by families who own livestock, invite visitors to eat beef or llama meat and drink chicha.The festival is hosted in the community of Quico, located at 4,800 meters above sea level. Access, via the Urcos-Quince Mil track (on muleback), is tough but worth the effort.
easterEaster week represents the peak of religious sentiment for the people of the Andes. The departmental capital of Ayacucho, San Cristbal de Huamanga, located in the central Andes at an altitude of 2,761 meters above sea level, celebrates one of the most intense portrayals of the passion, death and resurrection of Christ.The week starts out with the entry of Jesus into the city riding on a donkey. On Wednesday, the images of the Virgin Mary and Saint John are paraded in fervent processions through streets carpeted with flower petals until they meet up with the litter bearing the image of Christ, whom they "greet" in the main square. On the evening of Holy Friday, the lights of the city wink out to give way to the Christ of Calvary.The image sets out from the Monastery of Santa Clara in a procession through the streets on a litter strewn with white roses, followed by the grieving Virgin Mary and lines of men and women strictly dressed in mourning bearing lit candles. The litter, which features thousands of white candles, is simply magnificent.The litter is then accompanied with prayers and songs throughout the night until the three-hour sermon is delivered on Saturday. After days of grieving, Resurrection Sunday takes on a festive air, Christ is resurrected and appears once more on his litter and is carried through the streets.
Andrean christmasThe rural context of the arrival of the infant Christ allowed early Peruvians to identify immediately with the festivity, highlighted by artisan creativity, a sense of aesthetics and the religious devotion of Andean settlers. Andean Christmas began taking on characteristics of its own by adding elements from each region.These elements stand out for the extreme care with which highlanders put together Nativity scenes in churches and homes, perform dances and plays, cook typical dishes and produce a wide range of handicrafts such as Nativity scenes in Huamanga stone, retablos featuring images related to Christmas and pottery or carved gourds called mates burilados decorated with Yuletide scenes.In most Andean communities, the festival continues until la Bajada de los Reyes (the arrival of the three wise men), January 6, when traditionally people exchange gifts.
Lord of the earthquakesEver since 1,650, when the faithful claim that an oil painting of Christ on the Cross held off a devastating earthquake that was rattling the city of Cuzco, the locals have been rendering homage to the image of Taitacha Temblores, the Lord of the Earthquakes. The celebration is held on Easter Monday against the backdrop of Easter Week in the city of Cuzco.A red flower is used to weave a crown for the Lord of the Earthquakes. This crimson colored flower, whose petals are scattered by the faithful over the venerated image, symbolizes the blood of Christ.
Festival of the crossesThis festival, which is widespread in the highlands, is organized by the members of each community who decorate their respective crosses and prepare then for the procession to neighboring churches.
The celebration is linked to giving thanks for bountiful harvests, a custom maintained by peasant farmers since the pre-Hispanic era.
The festival often features folk music shows involving danzantes de tijeras (scissors dancers). In ancient times, the danzaq or scissors dancers would perform their daring feats on top of the church belltowers.
Even today, the dancers strive to outdo each other, performing extraordinary feats of derring-do.
Independence dayPeruvians throw parties and hold patriotic celebrations to remember the Declaration of Peru's Independence (,821) by Jos de San Martn. Across Peru, even in remote communities, homes fly the Peruvian flag from the start of July.On the night of July 27, Peruvians often stage serenatas to the strains of folk and Creole music in plazas and public parks. Dawn on July 28 is greeted with a salvo of 21 cannons, to herald the ceremony of raising the flag. On the following day,