Between July 15 and 18 of every year, the Feast of the Virgen del Carmen takes place every year in the colonial town of Paucartambo, a typical and beautiful adobe and tile city located 110 km away. from the city of Cusco,
It is a celebration that summons many parishioners and visitors from all parts of the world, led by the people and their 12 groups of dancers that radiate faith, charm, color and joy. Dances that are dedicated to the Virgin, sacrifice of the faithful who perform with love and devotion to the “Mamacha Carmen” a change in their protection and blessing.
Celebration that has a deep religious, social and ritual significance where you can see how the identity and custom of the Andean-mestizo peoples clearly observed in the dispute of the Qollas of the highlands and the Chunchos of the east are maintained, the nations fight for the love of the “Mamacha Carmen”, realized on the colonial bridge Carlos III.
Dancing and singing for the Virgen del Carmen is an honor and a sacrifice
Paucartambo is a beautiful city of white adobe and tile houses with light blue wooden balconies and famous for the feast of the Virgen del Carmen with its beautiful Charles III bridge, jewel of colonial architecture built on the Mapacho river, by the king’s disposition Carlos III of Spain in the year 1,775, is built of lime and stones, presents an ogival arch for greater resistance.
This lavish party begins on July 15, beginning with the outbreak of a rocket, which is answered by large explosions and ringing of bells, the interpretation of songs by the musical bands; then the entrance of troupes and the “apaycuy wax” (candle transport) takes place, the night is opportune to start the “qonoy” or campfire, where the Q’ollas, the Chunchus and the Maqtas stage the purgatory, flaunting his mischief, racing and acrobatic jumps. From 22:00 hours the serenade to the Virgin begins with bands of musicians and troupes, until the dawn of the 16th that is the central day of this beautiful holiday that is controlled by its faithful who arrive from different parts of Peru and of the world
The central day begins at 5 in the morning on July 16 with an early morning mass and at 10 in the morning the expected holiday mass where beautiful songs of the black Qollas and Qhapac stand out, after the celebration mass, the troupes They dance in streets and squares.
The great procession of the Virgin of Carmen begins at 3 p.m. and on the rooftops and balconies, the saq’ras wait for the “mamacha”, in addition to hiding. July 17 is the day of the “Blessing and Guerrilla”, after the mass and blessing, the groups go to the cemetery dancing, to visit the deceased dancers in the middle of songs and memories. After that the great caravan visits the jail to offer moments of joy to the inmates. In the afternoon the second procession takes place through the section of the Carlos III bridge, in this place the Virgin imparts her blessing to the four regions. Concluded the procession of the population goes to the square to attend the traditional guerrilla between the “Qollas” and the “Antis”, on this occasion also participate the “Saqras” and “Wakas wakas”, then the assistants participate in a ” Qhaswa ”Or widespread party.
On July 18 the Virgin is placed in the baptistery of the temple, where the traditional “ocarikuy” is performed, which consists of the presentation of children and adolescents to be blessed by the priest. At 4 in the afternoon the celebrations culminate with a blessing from the Virgin to the population.
On July 19 at 11 in the morning, Mamacha Carmen is placed on her altar where she is changed with her daily clothes, a special ceremony starring the outgoing and incoming butlers. In summary, the holiday is fast, varied and colorful, in which the following dances are presented: Maqtas, Auquachileno, Contradanza, Danzaq, Chunchachas, Chukchu, Kachampa, Majeño, Baker, Black Qhapac, Qhapac chuncho, Qhapac Qolla, Qoyacha, Saqra, Siclla Huayra or Doctorcito and Waca Waca.
Starting from Paucartambo, there is the place called Tres Cruces. A narrow, affirmed path ascends towards the Acjanaco pass (3,800 meters above sea level) and the Tres Cruces Viewpoint, a kind of natural balcony facing the Amazon from where one of the most unique sunrises in the world, produced by the optical effects of the sun. which seems to reverberate over the clouds that cover the rainforest.