Culture, Customs

The Kuka Mast’ay, Knowing the Future

Chewing Coca Leaves in a Special Moment (Walter Coraza)

Although it is known that the tradition of chewing coca in the Andes can still be seen, especially in the towns outside the city, its everyday use can also be seen in jobs such as housing construction, coffee harvesting, harvesting of products , etc.

One of the moments where you see it more is when people come together to talk. This is very common act where anecdotes, jokes, family problems, etc. are shared. In this way all the people involved in this act have a good social relationship.

On the other hand, this moment is not only social, it somehow serves to decipher or try to deduce the future. It is said that only a few people can read the future but compared to the reading of coca this remains at a lower level.

By just chewing the coca you can realize what the day, the KUKA Mast’a, will be like . You start to chew coca and if the coca is sweet, you deduce that the day will be good and in everything you do there will be a formidable progress while if the coca is sour it would be the opposite. This indicates that this day should not be worked since some accident could happen or it would only be a bad omen.

So if we think about coca, it is part of a religious symbiosis that is invaluable for Andeans. This is lost with technology, racism and monetary needs that are increasing.

Now few are the KUKA Mast’ay who still perform this act of deciphering from the taste of coca how the day will be. Some still teach their children, but for the future nothing is safe.\

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