Heirs of native and European cultures, Peru maintains a diversity of festivals and traditions that make up the cultural heritage. A host of events and festivals throughout the year lend color and flavor to our day to day, with celebrations that, between vibrant dances and acts of deep religious devotion, fill Peruvian life with passion and happiness.
Cajamarca is one of those heirs, considered the capital of the Carnival in Peru. This region constitutes an agrarian zone of great importance in the Peruvian economy, because its predominant activities are based on agriculture and livestock; due to the richness of its pastures and the fecundity of its soil. Among its main resources are: corn, wheat, coffee, barley, cocoa, potatoes, olluco, cattle, sheep and goats. Small companies consist of the processing of milk and its derivatives: blancmange, butter, cheese, yogurt, etc. In addition, in this region is one of the most important mineral deposits in Peru, its soils are extracted copper, silver zinc, lead and coal.
Cajamarca was one of the first cities to be inhabited by the Spaniards. On November 16, 1,532, the current square was the stage where two cultural powers faced each other: the Andean and the western, when the Inca Atahualpa was taken prisoner by a group of Spaniards under the command of the conquistador Francisco Pizarro, whom he offered in Inca a room full of gold and two rooms full of silver, as payment for his ransom. Months later the Inca was sentenced to death by garrote.
Due to its historical, archaeological importance and the beauty of its landscapes, on February 14, 1986, the Organization of American States declares it as Historical and Cultural Heritage of the Americas.
Cajamarca is a city in northern Peru, capital of the Department and the Province of Cajamarca, located at 2720 meters above sea level on the eastern slopes of the Andes Mountains, in the northern highlands of the country.
Here are a list of the Main Tourist Attractions in Cajamarca:
In this region there are important historical monuments such as the Cumbemayo canal, the Otuzco windows, the rescue room, church, museum and crypt of San Francisco, Belén church, San Pedro and San Jorge church, the Cajamarca Cathedral, and the Largest forest park in Peru: the Porcón farm.
To drink do not forget to try the delicious and refreshing chicha de jora or also the cañazo (schnapps). It is also recommended to the famous sweets such as the white delicacy, milk cookies, among other dairy products.
The Carnival is a celebration that is celebrated all over Peru, with common characteristics; parades, costumes, parties and games with water.
We could say that Peru, given its great cultural diversity, has carnivals for all tastes, but the best known and visited both by nationals and foreigners is Cajamarca, in the region known as the capital of Carnival.
It should be noted that this party has a touch of sarcasm and social criticism, visible both in some of the masks and in the picaresque Testamento de Ño Carnavalón (which is read in public), which alludes to authorities and politicians, institutions and popular characters.
The Cajamarca Carnival is organized as follows according to the official program:
Entrance of Ño Carnavalón (the Andean version of King Momo) to the city, in a colorful parade that gathers thousands of people (armed with water, paintings and talcum) in search of dance, drinks, party and debauchery, to the rhythm of the traditional songs and counterpoints of the Cajamarquino carnival.
By the way, no one is saved from the water, not even the police, and many of them end up with uniforms full of talcum powder and paint.
Contest of patrols and comparsas, groups of friends and dancers with colorful costumes. For professional and amateur photographers this is an ideal day to obtain original images, and for the celebrants in general it is reason for more celebration and party in the streets.
Corso de Carnaval, with the participation in addition to floats (at least 50), bands of musicians, dance groups, regional beauty queens and, of course, the Queen of Carnival, as well as acrobats, giants and bigheaded. It is on this day that the best carnival costume is chosen and the prize for the best is to enter the collection of the best costumes in the history of this carnival.
The Wake of Ño Carnavalón. The town gathers around the coffin, crying the death of the king of the party with beers, cigarettes, the traditional broth of head. Led by jocosas widows (men disguised as women), Ño Carnavalón's funeral procession crosses the streets of the city. The funeral ends with the reading of the Testament of Ño Carnavalón mentioned at the beginning. In parallel, with the public festival we can also enjoy local cuisine, at events such as the traditional Festival of chicha and bread, which not only awards the best chicha de jora (corn) and the best bread, but also It also has spaces for other typical foods, starting with the traditional head broth (made with a ram's head). The songs and counterpoints sung between bands (by neighborhoods) are perhaps the most beloved and characteristic part of this carnival, so much so that they have been declared officially Cultural Patrimony of the Nation, being an original expression within the oral tradition of the region, result of the appropriation of lyrical genres associated with the Spanish romancero resignified during the colonial and republican stages, according to the law that made it official. These coplas are born spontaneously during the hullabaloo of the celebrations, and the most funny, accurate or picaresque are added to the local collection. Another component of this carnival is the unsha, which is the Cajamarca name for a tree decorated with balloons and gifts, which in many Andean festivals is demolished during the dance as part of the party: the couple that knocks it down will be in charge of replenish it at the next carnival. In other places of the Andes this tree is known as yunsa, arbolazo, cortamonte and, in the jungle, as húmisha. Among the Cajamarca music of carnivals are well known and popular songs such as El Cilulo, and La Matarina, among others.
Regular flights from Lima to the city of Cajamarca (1 hour) and Jaén (1 hour and 15 minutes).