The Virgin of Carmen, as we call her, known in English as the Virgin of Mount Carmel, celebrates her feast today. She irradiates faith color and devotion and is one of the important holy figures of Peru.
Her feast extends over various days and is strongly celebrated in Paucartambo, a small provincial town some hours from Cuzco. It fills with dancers and pilgrims, as well as tourists, during this feast, one of the most important in the calendar of the region. For it the main day, today, stands out. It is a celebration that draws pilgrims, faithful, and visitors from all over the world in exchange for her blessing and protection.
Especially in the city of Cuzco, large numbers of people organize themselves and their families to come to Paucartambo and be part of this great devotion.
In Cusco we call her the Mamacha del Carmen, which means the “Dear Lady” or the “loved mother” of Carmen. She is simply one of the most important virgins in Peru. From the 15th to the 18th of July throughout the country people gather to feast her and invoke her blessing. People gather in Pisaq, Accha, the Barrios Altos of Lima, and, of course, in Paucartambo, united in faith to feast her.
In the city of Cusco itself, many people have altars in their homes with the image of the Virgin of Carmen. On these dates they light candles. They change her clothes for new ones, depending on the family’s economy, and the important thing is to feel the warmth and energy that comes from praying to her and asking for her protection at this time.