CustomsEventsFood & Drinks

The Yunza, Puchero, and Carnival

Carnival is one of the most important feasts of the City of Cuzco. The people of all the different neighborhoods have gathered to make clear arrangements about how they organize the celebrations in their neighborhoods. They first establish the preparations that are the obligations of all the people and then name a few women who will be in charge of preparing the traditional beverages: frutillada and chicha.

They also must find a tree that they can buy and put up as a spectacular yunza or zunzada. The couple who cut down the yunza the year before are the ones responsible. When they find a tree they send out a call to all the youths of the neighborhood to come and move it. Once they have it in their neighborhood they all enjoy some delicious dishes of food made by the neighborhood’s women.

During the feast of Carnival, there must be a dish we call puchero. It is also known as timpu or thimpu. It is a typical and delicious dish that every year is prepared for these great and refreshing feasts of Carnival. This preparation has a combination of various ingredients, potatoes, yuca, sweet potato, corn on the cob, beef, carrot and more. They all go into the making of this marvelous dish.

Puchero tends to be served before they begin the yunzada, the dancing around the tree. Everyone gathers in a single place and while conversing they share some wonderful laughter and then enjoy all together the delicious timpu. When they are finished eating they wait a bit while all get ready to dance and then go to their positions. Then the fiesta begins. You will only her traditional carnival music until the tree falls. This dancing yunzada tends to last for a good while.

In some neighborhoods they do their yunzada in carnavales while others wait for what we call the remate, the eighth day of the Sunday of Carnival where they say good-bye to the fiesta. In the remate at night everyone plays with differently colored flours. The play consists in painting the faces of other people. If you did not finish up with color on your face from the flours you did not enjoy these wonderful feasts.


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