The joy of Carnival is not only felt on its main days, right before Lent, but goes from when it begins until today, the cacharpari or last day of Carnival, also called the octave of Carnival. With today, carnival ends and the feast comes to a conclusion.
People who reside in the city of Cuzco but are from elsewhere, such as Calca, Urubamba, Vilcabamba, Colla, Ayacucho, and so on, do their yunsada accompanied by their dances and music. The yunsada is a “planting” of a tree called yunsa covered with gifts which is then ceremonially chopped down, so it falls to earth bringing gifts.
Each of these groups from different places will enjoy the cacharpari according to their own traditions. These include the preparation of a puchero, putting up a yunsa with different objects, making chicha to slake the thirst of dancers, preparing costumes for the dances, and more than any thing else lots of happiness.
Cacharpari is the day where the carguyoc (the people responsible for carrying out the feast) put up yunsas as a means of choosing who will have the obligation of sponsoring the Carnival feast the next year. That honor falls to the couple whose axe blows bring the tree down.
Besides this, the children and young men and women will have a lot of fun playing with water. They will have at it will more energy and joy today since it is the last day. They will go to the yunsadas armed with water balloons, colored flour, streamers, and many other things to give company to the dancers, observe the games, and spend time with their family all the while looking to get someone of the opposite sex wet.
This is also where the vendors of Carnival objects try to sell every last thing by discounting them. These items include balloons, foam spray cans, squirt guns, bags of confetti, colored flours, and more. What’s left they will keep for the next year.
This is how we end our Carnival in Cuzco, with the cacharpari. And then we wait for next year.