Festival of the Virgin of Candelaria – Puno, Peru
Festival of the Virgin of Urkupiña – Quillacollo, Bolivia
This is an excerpt from the book Celebrating Women by Paola Gianturco, reproduced from her website, http://www.celebratingwomen.com
“The Quechua tribal people in Peru and Bolivia have integrated their original belief in Pacha Mama (mother earth) with the belief in the Virgin Mary.
Quechua people always knew that Pacha Mama gave them the basic necessities required to live: water, food, animal wool for clothing, mud and rocks for houses.
In the seventeenth century, Spanish priests seeking converts told the Andean Indians that Pacha Mama was gone; they should pray to the Virgin Mary. The Quechuas knew Pacha Mama would not abandon them. To them, the Spanish image of the Virgin wearing her triangle-shaped robes looked like a mountain. They decided Pacha Mama and the Virgin must be the same.
At Peru’s Festival of Candelaria, 4,000 men, women and children dance in competition for a week to petition and thank Pacha Mama, then for another week to petition and thank the Virgin. They are rewarded with prizes for the best choreography, costumes, masks and music.
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Interested in some world travel and enjoying some of these feminine custom in person?
Here’s a great Directory of Festivals around the world that celebrate women:
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