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    Land of winds > Traditions > Festival | Issue 16 (Sep.-Oct. 2013)
    By Edgardo Civallero | Sara Plaza

Carnival of Cajamarca

Carnival of Cajamarca

The central part of the Carnival in Cajamarca (refer to as the capital of Carnival for its elaborate festivities) takes place over five days from Saturday until Ash Wednesday, and it is one of the most memorable celebrations in northern Peru. It is a colourful festival featuring imaginative costumes, where locals and visitors have loads of fun and plenty of drink (chicha de jora, fermented corn beer), and enjoy "coplas" contests: popular songs including funny naughty and love verses sung to the accompaniment of a guitar.

During the festivities, the city's traditional neighbourhoods (San Pedro, San Sebastián, Cumbemayo, La Merced, Dos de Mayo, San José or Pueblo Nuevo) organize their own "patrullas" or comparsas (musicians and dancing groups dressed in amazing costumes), which are mostly made up of young people and led by a Clon ("clown"), a picturesque character in a mask and a very high pointed hat.

On the central Saturday, people welcome the entrance of Rey Momo (also called "Ño Carnavalón"), a mythical character that represents Carnival. On Sunday, the comparsas march through the streets, playing, singing and dancing, turning the parade at the Plaza de Armas (Arms Square) into an explosion of bright colours. The following day there takes place the "Corso de Carnaval", with lots of elaborately decorated floats travel around the city accompanied by the "patrullas" and Rey Momo. After the parade the comparsas go back to their own neighbourhoods where the "Unsha" parties will continue over the next week with people in costumes dancing around "cortamontes", trees that have decorations and gifts hanging from their branches. While they dance, each couple try to cut the three down with an axe and the couple that manages to do so will be in charge of placing the gifts and decorate the tree for the following year. Some of the typical dances are the "El Cilulo", "La Carolina" and "La Matarina".

On Tuesday people dress in mourning clothes to say goodbye to Rey Momo at the "Velorio del Ño Carnvalón (the wake of the Carnival character) celebrated at a chapel built in the Santa Apolonia district. The farewell is accompanied by plenty of drinking, smoking and eating broth. The central part of the Carnival ends on Ash Wednesday. There is a procession to the "Baños del Inca", where the "Entierro del Ño Carnavalón" (the burial) takes place.

During the festivities, people from the villages of the department of Cajamarca show and trade their traditional products at the street markets: wine from Cascas, hydrangeas from Chugur, custard apples from Cunish, guitars from Namora, limes and oranges from Coyna, and the outstanding hats from Celendín and Asunción.

Carnival of Cajamarca, in Wikipedia [es].

Picture 01. Carnival of Cajamarca 01.
Picture 02. Carnival of Cajamarca 02.
Picture 03. Carnival of Cajamarca 03.
Picture 04. Carnival of Cajamarca 04.
Picture 05. Carnival of Cajamarca 05.
Picture 06. Carnival of Cajamarca 06.
Picture 07. Carnival of Cajamarca 07.
Picture 08. Carnival of Cajamarca 08.
Picture 09. Carnival of Cajamarca 09.
Picture 10. Carnival of Cajamarca 10.

Video 01. Review of the Carnival of Cajamarca.
Video 02. "El Cilulo", played at the Carnival of Cajamarca.
Video 03. Set of pictures from the Carnival of Cajamarca.
Video 04. Music/poetry competition at the Carnival of Cajamarca.
Video 05. Music at the Carnival of Cajamarca.
Video 06. Carnival coplas (a type of songs) in Cajamarca.

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