Today, one of the most important institutions of the city of Cuzco, the Inca Garcilaso de la Vega School (Gran Unidad Escolar Inca Garcilaso de la Vega), takes over the city. For weeks all the grades of the school, both primary and secondary, have been preparing to present a representative dance in the parade.
This parade takes place these days every year without fail. It is headed up by a band composed of the school’s students and then is followed by students from the earliest grades. The small children begin the celebratory parade showing themselves and their ability to the public, even though many of them are filled with panic. Their mothers are close at hand to support them should there be a need.
You can imagine the commitment and concern of the mothers especially if they have multiple children in the school. They carry the kids’ coats and some food and water to keep them going. If they have only one child they stay close to them, but if they have more then you can see them often moving up and down the line of dancers to make sure all their kids are well, and then waiting for them at the terminus of the parade to help them cool down and recover.
Little by little all the grades go by, each with different dances and choreographies they have selected. As they go by one by one, the vigor, strength, and noise grows with the age of the students.
You will always find here dances and personages that please the public, such as the huaylacas and the maqtas, both kinds of humorous personages—the one combining features of both sexes and the other an exaggerated and oversexed male. With unique joy and pride the children have lots of fun in these roles, making people laugh, with their games and humorous actions.
The whole pasacalle, the parade, begins from midday with the departure from the Garcilaso school. The students perform down Tacna Avenue before arriving at the Avenue of the Sun and then on to the Plaza de Armas for the grand conclusion of the parade. You will see an enormous number of students dressed in a diversity of costumes advancing slowly towards Cuzco’s Main Square.
In this way, if you study in Garcilaso, you have eleven years in which to show yourself to the public and salute Cuzco with your different dances. This means eleven years in your beloved school and 11 parades. You have all those years to learn the culture of Our Cuzco and Our Peru. All of the dances are very important.
Today the students will present themselves before the public in a parade which the students and teachers of Garcilaso cannot miss. You should go get a place early in order to best appreciate the parade and you should make sure to take a coat for the cold that will begin to fall in the afternoon, before the dances end.
Of all the schools of Cuzco, Garcilaso is alone in claiming a whole day of parade for itself in Cuzco’s calendar in its Jubilee Month. In this it does honor to its namesake and Cuzco’s favorite sun, the Inca Garcilaso de la Vega.