Sunday, June 15, 2008

Winter Solstice Festivals in Cusco

The whole month of June in Cusco is Festival Time! Every day we saw huge parades and demonstrations of native dances in the square. Thousands of people every day were in traditional costume and lined up for eight or nine blocks waiting for another parade to start. And that was just the participants. Thousands more were seated in the square to watch! Honestly! We walked up and down saying hello to people and taking pictures. Everyone was having a good time. In between the parades hundreds of cleaning workers in blue outfits swept up to get ready for the next event. The costumes were really beautiful and very elaborate. People of every age were represented.

Some of the groups were representing villages outside the city and others featured "local products", such as the potatoe farmers. A charming little girl stood proudly atop a wagon of potatoes among a group of proud mothers (see below right). Their were only a few floats and not very elaborate but the pretty young women on top looked very proud to be there (below left).

On the whole there were more women and children than men, but the men there were looking delighted! I met a whole group of them, shaking hands and getting introductions (below right). Unfortunately we didn´t get to see the presentations in the square in
front of the judges. This was at our dinner time (we ate hours before the people of Cusco, around 6:30 - this was a habit picked up on our trekking we never got rid of) so all our time seeing this was while they waited to perform, lining up for eight long blocks. No one seemed anxious or annoyed though. Everyone socialized or just sat patiently. I´m really sorry about how dark these pictures look in this entry. In my photo program they look great, so I don´t know what´s the matter. This fellow on the left is wearing a face mask but you can´t see it here. He looks quite scary!

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