A very fun part of traveling in June was the frequency of tourist festivals. And they were not for us foreigners but rather for other towns and cities in the same department! What a great way to learn about the people, trades, and history of the neighbors! Much better than reading about it.
In Chachapoyas, the 2011 Raymillacta, the XVI Semana Turística de los Chachapoyas, region Amazonas, ran from June 6-12. Each day was filled with events, from mass to plays to educational events to concerts to markets. My Neighborhood was also a part where citizens of each part of the city shared who they were and what they enjoyed.
Our favorite event was the parade where residents of each community shared cultural highlights. And what a festival it was, featuring replicas of historical high points such as the funerary sculptures or sarcophagi of Karajía, preparation of coffee from roasting the beans to brewing, making and sharing chicha or corn beer, fruit, vegetable, and even sheep searing and spinning of their wool. It goes without saying that the parade lasted for hours and hours, much enjoyment for all.
And the dancing! The music features brass instruments and drums for the most part and one band was seen to play with more than six different groups, playing enthusiastically the entire afternoon. Dancers were amazing, most bare footed, as they twirled and turned, back and forth, block after block until they were drenched with sweat.
And the children! Schoolchildren marched proudly behind their banners, almost always in line and in step, their teachers walking beside them. Some of the younger ones tired out and had to be carried.
When we returned to the plaza after dinner, a tall construction for the fireworks had been put up. It was so elaborate and well constructed that we were astonished that workers had set it up so quickly! And was it a joy to watch when it was lit. John took a lot of videos that are provided so that you can learn a little bit about the unexpected joys of traveling in Peru.