Like Jon Snow, I know nothing. I have absolutely no clue when it comes to Catholicism. The whole idea of the Holy Trinity is just confusing, and I am not talking about the Arrested Development Holy Trinity. That is actually more understandable. Nevertheless, learning about this festival has been somewhat enlightening to my heathen religious sensibility.
El Festivel de Virgin Carmen is one of, if not the biggest, most celebrated events in this sleepy town. It is to honor the Virgin Carmen. Apparently, she has powers? I am not versed in Christianity, but in English her translation is Our Lady of Mount Carmel. She protects the town … Apparently, she has saved some people from an earthquake before? I don’t know. I still don’t understand why we honor virgins so much.
Parades are the main spectacles of this three/four-day event. It begins with the youngsters, then the children in schools, the young adults follow, and then mature residents have their parade. Each occurs at different times and days and is filled with costumed people, religious idols, and spectacular dances. Men on horses and fireworks are also a fun surprise we witnessed this morning and afternoon. They actually have an official schedule for the festival. This is probably due to the fact that it is even advertised in Qosqo as a big deal! Talk about PR …
Additionally, this is a nonstop party. My host mother told me it just doesn’t stop. My body isn’t ready for 72 hrs. of partying. I might just have some Inka Cola. A vendor my housemate and I became friends with told us that you can just go to any house and get free food and drinks. This festival is kind of unbelievable.
This festival additionally boasts so very traditional, somewhat unusual, customs. They kill some chickens in the town square, and there are two men in black face with a donkey who represent the Peruvian versions of Krampus (pictured above). I am not one to judge, but they didn’t advertise this beforehand.
My host family is all dressed up and excited! It is so cute. My host siblings will all participate in some fashion, my host dad will dance in the parade, and my host mother will simply clap and support. They have been working for months on the costumes! That is partially why they look so fantastic.
If you are in Qosqo in mid-July (15th-19th) come! Not too many tourists come to the full event or at all. Be those guys that come and see Peruvian culture alive (and a little tipsy)! Pisaq is in full swing. I can’t believe this tiny, quiet town is basically raving. It is just such a drastic juxtaposition from, like, Monday when I was just typing outside the bar listening to Shakira peacefully. I am glad I am leaving on this note.
Pisaq is giving us volunteers a wonderful farewell party! That is egotistical. This is really for Carmen whose magic powers protect the town. I must say, she looks good for being a century or something old saint. I cannot believe I have to go next Monday (21st). Pisaq – thank you for all the fun!