and Regular Quechua Events
This is only my selection of what I'm aware of!
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Upcoming Quechua Events
• First Biannual Symposium on Teaching Indigenous Languages of Latin America (Stilla-2008)
Organized by the Minority Languages and Cultures of Latin America Program (MLCP) and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS).
August 14-16, 2008 – Indiana University –
Convenors: Serafín M. Coronel-Molina, School of
Education; John H. McDowell, Folklore
and Ethnomusicology; Jeff Gould, CLACS
information, including the Call for Papers, visit: www.iub.edu/~mlcp/stilla/
Regular Quechua-Related Fiestas
Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador have unbelievably frequent local fiestas, usually based around Catholic festivals, though with a deep undercurrent that goes back to pre-Hispanic beliefs. Many are by now principally Spanish-speaking affairs, but these few are still very heavily Quechua-speaking. The heaviest concentration of fiestas is from the end of May to the end of July.
• Qoyllur Rit’i: Trinity Sunday (end of May to end of June, depending on date of Easter): near the village of Mawallane, about 6 hours from Urcos (itself 1h20 SE of Cuzco) on the road to Puerto Maldonado in the Amazon. The festival is held at a sanctuary at an altitude of 4,700 metres, with bands and dancing groups from villages from very far around, who also hike up to the nearby glaciers (up to 5,300 metres) to plant crosses and flags there. For the festival, plenty of buses from Urcos and Cuzco, otherwise also petrol-tankers on the way to the Amazon. En route you pass by Tinqui, one of the starting points for the fabulous high-altitude treks around the Auzangate massif, a very heavily Quechua-speaking area.
• Inti Raymi: circa June 24th: Cuzco (Sacsayhuamán ruins). Re-enactment (a bit corny!) of the ancient Inca 'Sun Festival', each year on the southern hemisphere's winter solstice.
• Yawar Fiesta: circa 26th-31st July, coinciding with the Peruvian national holiday, held in a few villages in the Apurímac region (S. Peru, north of Cuzco), apparently most reliably in the (very) small town of Cotabambas (5 hours by bus from Cuzco, down into the Apurímac canyon and back up the other side) An indigenous adaptation of a bullfight, where a condor is captured, ‘fights’ the bull by being strapped to its back, and is then released again. Heavy with historical symbolism (natives vs. Spaniards), made famous in the indigenista novel Yawar Fiesta by José Maria Arguedas. Criticised by some as endangering the condor, though (some) care is taken to ensure its protection – after all, it’s the condor that’s supposed to win, survive and live to fly away to freedom. The release ceremony (kacharpariy) is one of the main events. The bull, too, is not killed nor stabbed by ‘picadors’: this is a typical small-town bullfight for the local youths to strut their stuff, but no-one can afford to kill a valuable bull just for ‘sport’.
• Mamacha Carmen: circa July 15th: Paucartambo (small, delightful town four hours by bus from Cuzco, US$4, heading down to the Amazon). A procession with an image of the Virgin Mary, with twelve traditional competing local dance troupes, singing in Quechua. Great costumes. Traditional cane castillos for the fireworks display. Lodging in Paucartambo can be pretty hard to come by during the festival; the town is packed. Three days of festivities, including the …
• Inti Paqariy: circa July 15th: watching the fabulous eerie sunrises over the Amazon jungle from about 3800m on the last, easternmost ridge of the Andes at Tres Cruces (no settlement, just a spot in the National Park). Plenty of minibus transport sets off from Paucartambo (see above on Mamacha Carmen) between midnight and 2pm the night before (circa US$3).