The Legend of Mama Sara: The Corn

The corn is one of the most beloved Andean foods of our region for its nutritional properties as well as its historical value. Corn is consumed in many traditional dishes of our region either as mote, kancha or lawa (boiled, roasted or ground) or as sankhu and t’tanta (bread).

On the maiden turned plant by Father Sun, for the sustenance of human beings there is a legend, which is why it was by his side in the temple of Qorikancha.

According to Juan Milma (a resident of Yukay), one of the settlers of the sacred valley had a beautiful daughter named “Mama Sara”, she asked her father for permission to enter Aqllawasi (the house of the chosen maidens who rendered their services to Sun). For her, her greatest aspiration was to dedicate her life to the radiant star. The only cloud that clouded its existence was the presence of Kuru, the priest who loved her.

Corn Plant Ready For Harvest (Photo: Wayra)
Corn Plant Ready For Harvest (Photo: Wayra)

While doing the paperwork to gain acceptance of the Qosqo, Kuru always tried to be close to “Mama Sara,” she was always looking at her and she said nothing, but she felt harassed. Every time he went for a walk he found it, little by little his impatience grew. After some time at last the girl told her mother that she was afraid that the priest would stop her going to the sacred city, her mother did not hear her since Kuru was very appreciated, respected and loved by all.

One day under the banks of the river, when he was cleaning, he saw reflected in the waters of the river the silhouette of the priest. He could no longer escape his prostration and the only way out was to implore Father Sol to help him.

Kuro can not touch it since a gold ray under the star and turned it into a thin slender plant with lanceolate leaves, desperate kuru began to slowly worm. This never quite pierced the cob, since “Mama Sara” to this day is still there safely.

Cobo heard that in May certain ceremonies were performed, placing in a pirwa (gathering places) ears of corn wrapped in beautiful blankets. There they kept them for three nights so that the crops would be good and lasting. To this day, only women can keep the corn in the Qolqas or Torjes. It is said that the men are Maki Wayra because “They have the hands of wind”.

Fresh corn for at the Market in the Sacred Valley
Fresh corn for at the Market in the Sacred Valley

Some of the chroniclers claim that the second Seque of Qollasuyu’s first waka “Limapampa” was a sacred place since it was said that Manko Qhapaq and his sister Mama Wako planted corn here for the first time.

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