Trekking Pilgrimage Tour: The Lord of Qoyllur Rit´i 3days
Trekking Pilgrimage Tour: The Lord of Q’oyllur Rit’i or “The Lord of Star Snow” 3 Days
“Apus” or Gods of the Mountains in Cusco -Peru – South America –
Especially Cusco is super magical for the ancestral holidays as it is the “Lord of the Snow Star” Festival – Qoyllur Rit’i, once a year of much devotion in tears.
Day 1rst.- Now starting one of the most fascinating festivals in the world, the Q’oyllur Rit’i or “Snow Star” of Cusco, Peru takes place every May / June in the Sinakara Valley and, according to local Catholics, Celebrates the appearance of an image of Jesus on a rock in 1780. In the depths of the Andes of Peru, at more than 4,700 meters above sea level, a colorful procession meanders along a rocky path that sends the inhabitants Of all the nations of the Tawantinsuyo of that Empire of the Incas. Among them are the indigenous Quechua people, who point out the Inca roots of the festival and say that instead of the Christian deity, Q’oyllur Rit’i celebrates the return of the Pleiades, which disappear in April and reappear in early May, Pachamama (La Mother Earth) and the ‘Apus’ or mountain gods.
Very Colorful: Pilgrims come to the celebrations in the valley of Sinakara, in the Andes. Ukuku dancers having fun in their traditional bright outfits from their own groups of dances.
Pure Tradition: Many people attending the festival have fun colored masks or costumes adorned with ribbons, beads or other types of ornaments.
The road is long: The mountainous valley is remote and difficult to access so many of the pilgrims complete part of the journey on foot.
Summoned by all ages: People of all ages are invited to the festival, even if, like this young man, they are not old enough to understand what is going on.
Some even pray to both. “I have come to pray to Jesus,” says a neighbor of one of the communities in the surrounding district of Ocongate, “but also to Pachamama and the Apus.
Day 2nd.-“Our people have come here much earlier than the Europeans,” he adds. “For hundreds, even thousands of years we have come to this special place to be close to the spirits.”
Whoever it is can worship it, celebration is a matter of good humor as revealed by these amazing photos with pilgrims who spend their time shopping in crowded markets, joining a colorful dance or watching as one of the many processions that pass. Others gather outside the church housing the “Lord of the Snow Star”, the rock on which Christ miraculously appeared in 1780.
Some devotees wait up to seven hours to see it and light an ornate candle to the side.
Many more gather in the market that sprouts around them, offering everything from traditional Peruvian food such as fried trout and jerked loin and many activities at the same time as even divination.
“Fortune tellers, shamans, and sellers of a wide range of remedies are aligned to solve a thousand problems.”
Altitude: Others use horses and mules for the long trip down the mountain and some chew coca leaves to help them adapt to the climate and height to the slimming air.
Sale: In the markets, the faithful can buy anything from hats to food and even fortunes, although they take some time to work.
A man with a dry donkey’s head, stripped of fat, which he and other salesmen say can help alleviate joint aches and pains among those things and many more offer.
Some even offer spells that say they can change your life, but as with most supernatural things, the precise recipe for fulfilling dreams changes depending on who asks you.
Some contend that it takes three trips before the Lord of the Snow Star bestows his wish. Others confess that buying a miniature replica of the object of their wish while at the festival will give the same result.
One of the festival’s busiest areas is the designated play area known as the “Alaskan market”. Here, people can buy land and even develop it.
Some spend hours moving small rocks to build their dream home to their specifications. A building has a comb in it, representing the barbershop that someone hopes to own. Another has a Mercedes brochure with a sign on the front door reading the “private feature”.
But while there is much to see in the colorful markets, Q’oyllur Rit’i dance groups or “comparsas” are even more striking.
Dancers carry a diverse collection of extravagant costumes including embellished traditional costume, wide brimmed hats dragging long rainbow ribbons, feathered headdresses, elaborately embroidered hats and a range of strange masks.
Colorful: dancers rotate, bright ribbons with elaborate pearls flying from their traditional hats
Offerings: Many people attending the festival leave offerings and create models of the items they hope to acquire or achieve next year.
Vibrant: Dancers revolve around the market area while indulging in one of their traditional dances, with elaborately embroidered clothing
Strictly Highly Respected: The Ukukus lead feasts and participate in bizarre whipping balls, often while wearing hand-knitted masks and rainbow scarves
With Whips: The role of the Ukukus also includes maintaining order using their leather whips, which are also used during dances
Festivities: The ancient festival, which has its roots in the rituals of the Inca people, celebrates both Jesus and the Apus, or gods of the mountain existing religious syncretism.
Day 3rd.- “Each costume tells a story,” explain the older protagonists, a reveler who looks like a cross between a bear and a bee in their yellow and black skins. “It represents the people and where they come from.”
Some routines contain long and complex sequences of traditional Andean choreography, while others focus on the repetition of a couple of movements. A few calls just for drums, while most employ a wooden wind and an accordion. The only thing that exceeds the variety of dances is the zeal of the dancers.
“They dance for the pride of their nation, for my village. We want everyone to know who we are. They say the teenage dancers, catching their breath. After all, those who are more enthusiastic gain the reputation of their region or “nation.”
In this crowd, it is difficult to stand out. But that’s just what the ukukus do. Anonymous, omnipotent, mysterious and mystical, these respected beings are the highest authority of Q’oyllur Rit’i.
Each nation selects a few fortunate men to play the role of these Andean legends known with love as Pablitos. A ukuku is wearing a ski mask with a pronounced chin and nose, small clefts for the mouth and eyes, and a sinister mustache of handlebars to the Salvador Dalí. She has a flame doll around her waist.
Once, the Ukukus lived on top of the Andes, in the habitable environment near the glaciers. Armed with a whip, they could only fight the condemned, or tormented spirits condemned to life on the mountain peaks of the Ausangate Nevado and others.
Today’s Ukukus employ whip indiscriminately to maintain order at the festival, as well as offer their own dances to entertain the watching crowds of the pilgrims.
The most popular festival: The festival attracts revelers from all over Peru and South America, especially from neighboring countries, Bolivia in particular.
Tradition: Regardless of who is being worshiped, the festivities are always exuberant and include constant dancing and vibrant costumes.
Painful Fort: The Ukuku dance involves a pair of Ukuku men who are whipped using their long leather whips
Day 4rd.- Generating the largest crowd, Ukuku’s dance consists of two of these masked men taking turns lashing each other. They point to the legs where they have placed the protection beforehand so they do not feel any pain at all.
The intensity of lashes follows a crescendo with music. After a minute, two new Ukukus come in for their flogging round. “It’s symbolic,” says one, in his sharp voice, “We’re sharing the pain of Jesus.”
In addition to being punishers and animators, the Ukukus also remind people of the original reason for the festival and why they have traveled so far to this particular place.
In the past, they climbed two hours to the glaciers that surrounded the camps, separated large chunks of ice and carried them miles away to their villages. This exhausting act of devotion was intended to please the Andean spirits and is still reflected in the celebrations of today.
The Ukuku are also central in the final and most religious part of the festival: the pilgrimage to the glacier. Dressed in red or yellow wool costumes, they process along a dangerously thin path in the light of the full moon on the third night of Q’oyllur Rit’i.
Once at the top, after dancing some flute music, the pilgrims respectfully remove their hats and approach the glacier. Just as their ancestors have done for thousands of years, they remain silent, listening intently as if Pachamama herself was lecturing in her ear.
When the sun finally rises, the process of Ukukus descends back down the mountain to the valley where the pilgrims greet them before preparing to depart, taking their hopes of a new home or a blessing of the Apus with them.
Holy: The climax of the feast involves a procession down the mountain, much of it in the dark, down a winding mountain road to pray
They are Leaders: The procession is led by the Ukukus, who use the time they spend at the top of the mountain to pray to Jesus or the Pachamama – Mother Earth.
Very Remote: Praying at the top of the mountain means enduring bitter cold and the risk of falling off one of the narrow roads in a crack
It is Sacred: One of the Ukuku falls on his knees to communicate with Jesus, the Pachamama or the Apus, although many celebrants choose to pray kneeling in tears in the Blessing of the last moments before returning.
- Professional bilingual guide (English – Spanish)
- Cook (with assistant for groups of four or more people)
- Pack mules for the equipment and personal belongings – maximum 11 lbs / 6 kg
- Round trip transport
- Camping equipment
- Double occupancy tents (all new equipment!) with foam mattresses
- One lunch, one dinner, one breakfast.
- Sleeping bag (ask us for help hiring)
- TIPS for porters, guides, and cooks
- Flight Cusco-Lima (ask us for help with making arrangements)
- Tips for trip guide, cooks, porters and driver
- Drinks apart from water or soft drink with meals
- You can horseback ride for the ascent for US$50 per horse. You cannot ride the horse for the descent back to Mawayani.
- WHAT TO BRING:
- A Day Pack
- A Rain Jacket or a Poncho
- Sturdy hiking boots or cross trainers
- Warm clothes
- Water bottle
- A hat or cap to protect you from direct sun and high altitude chill
- Sun block
- Flash light.