Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Devils on the rooftops

In Paucartambo -and in other Cusco towns- during the feast days of the Virgen del Carmen, in mid-July, dance troupes associated to specific religious fraternities take to the streets and, through their dances, essentially act out religious plays.     One set of important characters in these are the saq'ras, or devils, who haunt the streets surrounding the church -being unable to enter it- and on the last day of the festival, when the effigy Virgin is carried in procession through the streets, the saq'ras are reduced to haunting the rooftoops and treetops, emiting their trilling cries, and waving their canes at the Virgin and her worshippers.

In Cusco, on the afternoon of the 7th, as part of the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the "discovery" of Machupiqchu, Cusquenos made an effort to bring out elements of their folklore.  Accordingly, we found a troupe of saq'ras haunting the Plaza Espinar and the Basilica de la Merced.

As Liz said at the time, we were pretty lucky to have chosen those days to be in Cusco!

video


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