DrinksFiestasTraditional Food

Strawberries and Chicha Thrill One and All at Carnival

Celebrating Carnivals with Frutillada

Celebrating Carnivals with Frutillada

The People of Cusco celebrate their Carnival feast with rich food, good music, and refreshing beverages. They stand united in joy during this incredible feast. In each neighborhood where Carnival is celebrated the feast is organized a bit differently. You can see this clearly when night falls. In all the neighborhoods we carry out the now traditional yunsada, people prepare the typical puchero (boiled dinner), and they serve up delightful glasses of chicha and frutillada, the typical drinks of our region. But at night the differences stand out. In some neighborhoods, besides the great feast, they also contracted musical groups to make the fiesta continue with more strength and more spirit for all present.

Before the Carnival yunsada begins, the men of each neighborhood get together early in the morning to go and obtain the tree that will be at the center of the events. They have already contacted someone who has trees for sale and they finalize the agreement. Once the pact is made, all the neighbors go to the indicated place to cut down the tree and bring it to the fiesta. They carry with them all the necessary tools. From the whole process, going, cutting, and bringing back they arrive very tired. In the site where the women will place the tree so it stands upright, the women of the neighborhood bring the men buckets of frutillada and chicha to calm their thirst and complete their labor.

These men are the first to formally taste these delicious drinks that are made naturally. The strawberries chicha (frutillada) and the regular chicha are the traditional drinks for the occasion and are consumed in an unimaginable quantity during Carnival.

Chicha and Frutillada together in the same feast
Chicha and Frutillada together in the same feast

Many people call these our Andean refreshments. The frutillada is made from strawberries and the chicha is made from corn. These natural drinks take on different but delicious flavors to satisfy the thirst of all the people during the feast. There are constantly being served throughout the feast.

In the beginning act of the feast, some people prefer a frutillada, because of its sweet and fruity flavor and because when you drain the glass you find at the bottom a tasty berry. But as the feast goes on, both drinks are consumed equally.

Both are fortified with cañazo, a distilled sugar cane beverage and because people are constantly drinking they get drunk, little by little. Especially the couples that are dancing around the tree begin to sway a bit from inebriation. They lose their shyness and the shame they felt in dancing before other people who are watching them. They begin to show their talents and give a great spectacle for all who are observing.

People make toasts with both chicha and frutillada during these beautiful colorful and wet Carnival celebrations. The companionship of these beverages, filled with joy, pleasure, and fun is shared by almost all the people of Cusco.

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