Customs, Food Culture

Carnival Ends Today with the Cacharpaya

Carnival in Cusco (Walter Coraza Morveli)

For Carnival in Cuzco there are two principal days in which we celebrate massively.  The first day, which is called Carnival, is when the feast begins.  For days before, such as the two Thursdays of Comadres and Compadres people begin the play of Carnival with women trying to wet the men and vice a versa the men toss water at the women.

On the second main day, the Sunday after Carnival Sunday, the feast comes to an end with what is called the Remate or the Octava.  It is also called in Quechua the Cacharpari.  On this day people especially dance around the yunza trees and try to cut them down in order to choose who will be the sponsors of the next years Carnival.

Generally, this is the last day in which the two groups, women and men, can play with water and colored flour.  It is also the last day in which you can eat the delicious dish that is typical of carnivales, called thimpu or also called puchero.

Cutting down the Yunza Tree (Wlater Coraza Morveli)
Cutting down the Yunza Tree (Wlater Coraza Morveli)

The Cacharpari is celebrated throughout the city of Cuzco on the Sunday after Carnival.  The most popular places are where people put up the yunza tree.  As soon as it rises up, it is a sign that everyone is invited to participate in the party around it.

Other places that are very popular are the plazas in the center of the city, where many people gather to enjoy the day.  It is also important to spend this day with your family, generally at home, to reestablish and continue the good will among brothers and sisters and parents.

This day is the close of the Carnival feast.  People will enjoy it fully.  They will play vigorously with water and try to wet the other gender in order to let the feast go for another year.  Then it will return to bring them joy.  They try to always remember that this feast has been celebrated every year for time immemorial and to keep the tradition alive.

 

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