The feast of the Virgin of Carmen or also called “Mamacha Carmen” patron saint of the mestizos, is one of the most important festivals that takes place throughout the year in the province of Paucartambo in the department of Cusco.
This party is one of the most anticipated and prepared by the faithful and devotees of the Virgin of Carmen. It is celebrated from July 15 to 18 every year with a large crowd of people both local, national and visitors from around the world.
And it is that this party is full of living culture, troupes that show extraordinary choreographies, musicians that present beautiful melodies in honor, traditional gastronomy and drink, customs and traditions that are passed from generation to generation and above all the love and sharing that characterizes to the Andes of Latin America.
In addition, the Mamacha Carmen festival was declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Nation on April 11, 2006 by the “National Institute of Culture” at that time, today the “Ministry of Culture.”
One of the historical events that is well remembered by the devotees of Mamacha Carmen and by the Cusco population, is the visit of Pope John Paul II where he crowns the Virgin on his visit to the city of Cusco. All the people who visit this party must prepare days before and organize their entire itinerary such as transportation and accommodation, which is very difficult to achieve for these dates.
The typical dance troupes that accompany the Virgin prepare arduously to perform an extraordinary accompaniment to the Mamacha Carmen. The dances that are presented this day are: Qhapac Colla, Qhapaq Negro, Majeño, Siclla, Kachampa, Saqra, etc. Each one plays a very important role in this holiday and its meaning gives it a very important value in history.
All these days you live 100%, from the houses of the mayordomos (in charge of the party) and in every corner of this small colonial town. The troupes take the opportunity to carry out the initiations of the new members who with great faith and excitement participate for the first time dancing in this beautiful party.
Music can be heard everywhere, since the traditional bands of musicians “Caperos” are accompanying each of the troupes from far away you can hear the melodies that make all the visitors who attend this party dance.
The party in honor of the Virgin of Carmen is not only celebrated in Paucartambo but throughout the department of Cusco, public and private institutions organize small celebrations. From early in the morning fireworks are launched in the center of the city to announce the start of the festival and a small caravan with typical dances that accompanies a small image of the Virgin of Carmen that passes in procession through the main square of the Cusco.
Then the month of July is lived to the fullest the party in honor of the Virgin of Carmen, we recommend you make your itinerary in advance to enjoy this party to the fullest.