Though the dry season, when you expect the skies to be clear and the light to be sharp, it has been raining in Cuzco these days and people are talking about it.
The conversation does not fit the format you might expect: “It is not the time for rain! Why is it raining? The climate is out of whack!”
Instead it refers to an unusual custom in which people look for moisture this time of the year as a augury, a prediction of what the weather will be live in the coming months. For example the last days rains have referred to February, March, and April, one day-one month.
The custom of observing if it rains and what kind of rain it is this month is called las cabañuelas. It is an ancient custom that came into the Andes from Spain and may reflect a Sephardic tradition of cabalism.
While this mystical tradition of looking for ways of knowing the occult, that is the hidden, certainly had an impact here and left lots of customs, it conjoined with an Inca tradition of reading omens and coparticipating in creation of fortune through ritual and amulets or auguries. Nevertheless, in Cuzco, many ritual items related to creating fortune are called simply cábalas, as if they were from the ancient Jewish Kabbalah itself.
If you wish to know more about this time of the year and augeries, you can consult this earlier article we published.