Culture, Customs, Travel

The Chinchero and Its Resistance to Spanish Colonization

Chinchero is a district of Urubamba. Located at approximately 3770 meters above sea level, it is also known as the community of the rainbow, or as they call it in Quechua “kuychi”. This is because it is very common to see the colored arches in the rainy season. Up to two rainbows in the sky can be seen at a time.

In the Inca era the rainbow was considered a very important deity because it was considered a protective deity of the Inca and a deity that regulated the hydrological cycles that fertilize the land.

Even today in Chinchero the rainbow can not be pointed at with your finger because of a belief that the fingernail will rot and fall off. You should also not look at it smiling. It is believed that your teeth will fall out if you do so. When people see a rainbow they bow their heads and pass as they would for a veneration or for worship.

Women From Chinchero
Life in Chinchero

The community of Chinchero is one of the few places that still keeps many traditions of the Inca period and has shown a strong resistance against the Spanish colonization. We can appreciate this resistance in the following aspects:

The respect and care of the Inca temples and the cultivation terraces. Agriculture was the most important economic activity of the Inca period and to this day these terraces are still preserved and cultivated.

The pacha mama or mother earth continues to be venerated as an important divinity. People still make payments and offerings to her to ensure the land produces well.

Chinchero is also one of the few places in Cusco where the urban design of the Inca period is maintained. Streets are still used by the inhabitants to this day.

Another example of resistance can be seen in the traditional costumes worn by the residents of the community. These costumes are not only put on for important fiestas, but are worn every day. They are their traditional dress. Their representative colors are red and black.

The art of weaving is another act of resistance. Chinchero is one of the places that over time has preserved the art and the process of weaving, from the washing of sheep wool or alpaca, spinning, dyeing using natural products, until the final weave with designs that are creations of the mind and that are embodied in the fabrics according to the state of mind that the weaver has.

Weaving in Chinchero
Weaving in Chinchero

The market or exchange of products is practiced every Sunday. It is known today as a Sunday fair. Divers products such as tubers, corn, fruit, etc. are exchanged among the inhabitants. In this community as a first language they still speak our mother tongue, Quechua, and as a second language they learn Spanish.

For all those who want to appreciate the living culture of Peru and be part of a wonderful experience, chinchero is the perfect place to visit.

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