Gimena invited us to join in the fiesta of San Pedro (St Paul) yesterday evening and I have to say it was quite the experience. In chatting a bit with Andrew, one of the other volunteers, we both decided that we didn´t think you could convey this experience by words or pictures alone (I have video, but can´t get it uploaded yet due to the file size).
The dancing and traditions of the fiesta come primarily from indigenous ways, but the event has been overlayed with catholicism. The original date of the festival is June 29th, but they continue on with celebrations for several more weeks. This was one of those continuations.
After a valley/ravine crossing and wandering up and down the dirt streets of the Picalqui community we arrived on quite the scene...
Indigenously dressed men and women dancing in circles and singing. Musicians in the center with a ring of dancers around them and a pole of 13 chickens danced around them by 2 more dancers. In this initial dance we saw an elderly woman led the chicken dancers around and around. Then in a procession like fashion, with the chicken trio leading, the dancers filed into the hall for yet more dancing and singing.
Mulitple community dance groups came an went during the night and as we were leaving at midnight a new group was on it´s way.
Time between groups was passed with sopa, chachi, and elviado or canalaso (no one was quite certain). The chachi and elviado were like sweet hard alcohol (the elviado was hot too). There were folks with buckets of it that would go around scooping it out in a small cup and serving it to everyone.
As the night progressed, the party revved up. The little kids ran around wild like while the adults danced the night way or watched on. Quite the event!