Virgen del Carmen Festivity- Paucartambo


Every year between July 15 and 18, thousands of devotees and visitors gather to celebrate the Feast of the Virgen del Carmen in the town of Paucartambo.

 Festividad de la Virgen del Carmen – Paucartambo

The Virgin of Carmen, also called "Mamacha del Carmen", patron saint of the mestizos, is venerated at great festivities. It begins with a meeting which takes place in the Plaza Mayor, a place where bands of musicians play their instruments, as well as richly dressed choirs that sing in Quechua, in this way they give ingenious choreographies that represent passages of the history of Peru.

In the day all the comparsas walk dancing the narrow cobbled streets of the town accompanied by their bands and orchestras. The pilgrims intermingle with the group of dancers, confusing each other in a magical celebration.

 Festividad de la Virgen del Carmen – Paucartambo

Virgin of Carmen

There are different stories about the origin of this holiday, which one of them tells that:

The governor of Peru, Don Pedro Fernandez de Castro Andrade, Count of Lemos, traveled through high Peru, came through Puno to Cusco, he was told that, in Pucará, a miracle had taken place, the office of the Virgin appeared on a rock and when the Viceroy personally noted that he was admired for his perfection, on his return to the Viceregal Capital he sent a painter to Pucará so that the miracle could be transported on canvas, a work that was unbeatable.

In this way the same Viceroy Conde de Lemos, ordered to carve two identical effigies of the same size that sent them to Pucará, so that in this way they would venerate in this temple, the other in Puno.

Several years passed, the image was not collected from the Puna people staying in Pucara, this news reached the ears of Mrs. Maria Campos, a person who had good economic condition, made his trips from Puno to Paucartambo, made arrangements to bring the image to Paucartambo date from which the festival is celebrated with possible solemnity.

The Virgin of Carmen was declared patron of folk dances in 1972 and was taken to the city of Cusco to be decorated by Pope John Paul II in February 1985.

 Festividad de la Virgen del Carmen – Paucartambo

Main dances that accompany the Virgin of Carmen

Danzaq: "Danzaq o Tusuq", dance to whom the seductive capacities are attributed to the young quinceañeras, conqueror of married women and the consolation of widows, constitute one of the best groups dressed in their colors and elegance when dancing. They cover their heads with chucos, they wear short ponchos which have interspersed adornments with ornaments and blue pants divided with stripes with colors of the rainbow. Without a doubt it is one of the most representative dances of the province of Paucartambo.

 Festividad de la Virgen del Carmen – Paucartambo

Chunchachas: This dance represents the women of the Kosñipata jungle, but it has a mestizo influence because of its clothing that also carries the music that accompanies it, the clothing that it carries consists of a crown of Amazons, with its hair, a chest which represents the Virgin, two "Chuspas" that serve to carry their wayruros, a suitable dress in which they wear a chonta and the sinehon.

 Festividad de la Virgen del Carmen – Paucartambo

Qhapaq Negro: dance that in Spanish means "Rich Black" recalls the servile or slave age of the population of the black race, for which they carry chains as a sign of supicion. At present the blacks of Paucartambo are considered as the slaves of the Virgen del Carmen, for which they offer their beautiful and wonderful dance and their sentimental songs.

 Festividad de la Virgen del Carmen – Paucartambo

Qhapaq Qolla: representative dance of all the inhabitants of Qollasuyu, since its origin dates from colonial times, where the Qollavinos merchants arrived to Paucartambo. This dance has its faith to the "Mamacha del Carmen", and it is to this party that they dance, sing and cheer their guerrilla. The dancers wear beautiful and ornate monteras, the waqollo and lliclla which are confessed vicuña, the qepi contain a dissected vicuna.

 Festividad de la Virgen del Carmen – Paucartambo

Qhapaq Chuncho: This dance is represents the warriors of the jungle of Qosñipata (district of the province of Paucartambo). Their clothes are adorned with multicolored feathers "chucu", long hair, mesh masks, a skirt-like unku, wire mesh mask. They carry a spear of "Chonta". The band is typical (two whistles, drum and bass drum).

 Festividad de la Virgen del Carmen – Paucartambo

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