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| festivals and rituals >> january | gastronomy | history | dances | folk art | musical instruments |

Festivals and Rituals on January

Marinera Festival
January

Carnival!!!
February

Wine Festival
March

Peruvian Paso Horse Festival
April

Festival of the Holy Crosses
May

Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Protectors of the Peruvian Fishermen
June

Independence Day
July

Saint Rose of Lima and America
August

Spring Festival
September

Lord of Miracles
October

All Saints, Day of the Death (Halloween next day)
November

Christmas
December

 

 

 

 

Varayocs - The Power of the Scepter


Location
: Cusco
Date: January 1st

At 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.

In a festival that features gallons of chicha (maize beer) and llonque (sugarcane alcohol), the mayor or Varayoc receives the scepter or vara that symbolizes his power. This pre-Hispanic custom has been glossed over with Occidental formalities.

The varas are crafted from local wood varieties such as chonta palm, black hualtaco, huallacan or membrillo, measure around a meter in length and are inlaid with gold and silver (Cusco's Town Hall features a small museum that exhibits some superb examples). When a Varayoc steps down from his post, he ceases to hold any post in his community ever again, and becomes one of the venerable elders.

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Chiaraje - Ritual Battle


Location
: Canas, Cusco
Date: January 20

The tradition of staging ritual battles to ensure the fertility of the land lives on in a remote part of the department of Cusco. The Pampa del Chiaraje, at an altitude of 4,700 meters above sea level, in the province of Canas, can be reached by a paved road from the old Inca capital and then via a dirt road. 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.

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Marinera Dance Festival


Location
: Trujillo, La Libertad
Date: January 20 to 30

The 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. Dance steps, characteristic of the marinera include the coqueteo (with the couple dancing very closely together) and the skillful cepillado footwork (literally "brushing"). The daring marinera, danced in the department of La Libertad, features the man wearing a wide-brimmed hat and poncho and the lady dressed in an intricate Moche lace dress.

From January 20-30, the Gran Chimu stadium in the city of Trujillo holds the country's most important marinera festival. This competition, that draws couples from all over the country, is organized by the Club Libertad. During the festival, the city also hosts processions involving floats, and the whole town takes on a festive air. The people of Trujillo gather at the main square to dance and celebrate.

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