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It is Carnival and Time to Play

Young Men and Women Playing at Carnival (Walter Coraza Morveli)

Young Men and Women Playing at Carnival (Walter Coraza Morveli)

In is inevitable you will be part of the play in Carnival. In Cusco, this month we celebrate Carnival. Sunday was its day and next Sunday, the fourteenth, we will celebrate it too. It is the eighth day of Carnival, the octava. Small, colorful balloons filled with water, colored flour, streamers, and Carnival spray foam all add color and happiness to the celebration. We also enjoy dance and the typical gastronomy of the season.

In our various streets, plazas, and urban neighborhoods children, youths, and adults live the celebration by wetting each other. Women throw water at men and men at women. They also throw colored flour and spray foam in various colors. They form groups and leave home well armed, buckets filled with water, lots of balloons, and maybe even spray guns.

This tradition comes down to us from former generations. It is true, though, that in comparison with former generations the play is much less. I remember even as recently as five years ago people played with great euphoria and excitement. From the Sunday of Carnival through the Octave they played with great joy.

Local people, especially the youths, gathered in groups on the different days of the week to play with people who were also looking for fun by wetting others and by getting wet. The students of our various institutes and schools also formed part of the Carnival play. They would make war on the women and the women on them, seeking to have fun on this day without making it difficult for those who were not taking part in the play.

Now it seems there is much less. It mostly happens on the two Sundays. That is when you can play without making people uncomfortable. Everyone is celebrating Carnival then and making much noise.

In Cusco’s homes people also live Carnival and play. All the family members, children, youths, and older people toss flour at each other and get covered in water. Among them you will ehar laughter and screams. They rise from all the homes of the city and the families spread the joy to passersby who get drawn in to this traditional celebration.

Getting Marked by Carnival (Walter Coraza Morveli)
Getting Marked by Carnival (Walter Coraza Morveli)

At Carnival time we live in an environment filled with color, flavor, and some times moments of rain. Our weather also turns happy and playful. Sometimes it is sunny and sometimes it just rains.

People, both locals and visitors, go to the plazas of the city to continue the play. They laugh and have a good time with all who are there.

You can also appreciate all this in the main square, our Plaza de Armas. There are people there who sell balloons already filled with water. They sell them at 3 for 1/S. Flour, streamers and foam also are on sale during these festive days. All can have fun and play.

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