This is one of the most spectacular carnivals in Latin America. It occurs one week before lent. The parade includes
20,000 dancers and 10,000 musicians. It originates in the Andean ancestral invocations to Pachamama (mother land),
Tio Supay (Satan Uncle), and to the Candelaria Virgin. The Carnival parade lasts twenty hours--we lasted eight hours.
Recently the Carnaval was granted a UNESCO heritage designation.
The parade is divided into groups of performers. Each group begins with a car loaded with gifts to the Candelaria Virgin
There are numerous recurrent themes
to the parade. Among them is the
oppression of the Spaniards including
the bringing over of slaves to work in
the mines. Ironically, Africans could not
adjust to the high altitude so they were
eventually put to work as domestic help
with the indigenous people taking the
brunt of this awful servitude.