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Virgen Del Carmen Festivity

Every year in July Paucartambo town dresses up of color, a Virgin is the cause of this celebration since the 17th century. It is one of the most traditional and respected religious events in Peru. It is a mix of Andean and Spanish syncretism. Alcohol is not allowed and drunk people are punished by the Saqras that carry their wips in hand while they go around the town.

Masses are held in spanish and Quechua, the Virgin Carmen is taken to go around the town while the demons run to the rooftops covering their eyes as a sign of her purity and light. They try to make her fall in temptation but she is stronger and this represents the fight between evil and saint.

The festivity is organized by the town and families are in charged every year to provide food, drinks, and shelter for dancing a few hours. It is an ongoing party and the Mayer has to go to each family and be part of the celebrations. They create a program for the week that lasts the celebrations and people who come to visit this town can have an idea what will follow next. Bamboo made castles are burned at midnight, men holding big bamboo bulls with burning horns go around the main square, also many groups of dancers that represent and tell a story of the town, from mockery to Spanish people to telling the story of the beginning of the town and festivity. Fire is a big part of this festivity, one of the most interesting parts is to see dancers and also visitors jump over bonfires, this could be a sign of overcoming hell as their faith is stronger.

With no doubt this is one of a kind celebrations in Peru not to be missed. Paucartambo is located almost at the border of Cusco and Madre de Dios, the jungle. This place has a particular point where the jungle and the Andes meet for the last time, the highest point is called Tres Cruces (Three Crosses) it is said that from here you can visualize 3 crosses formed by the reflection of the sun.

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