Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Easter on Taquile 2013

Easter on Taquile starts with choir practice for a couple of weeks before Holy Week. Then, beginning this year on Thursday, April 28, each of the 7 choir groups gather to sing in the various churches. Taquile has an Adventist Church and two Catholic Churches, the big one in the main plaza and a smaller one out on the south end of the island in the sector called Huayllano. Silvano and Ruperta, Delfin and Natalia all sang with the Huayllano group.

Huayllano Church singing, back view toward the front of the church.

View from the front, showing the musicians.

Friday was the biggest night of singing, when all seven choirs met and sang in the big Catholic Church on the Plaza. It was a vigil, music starting at 7pm and rotating through all the groups until the wee hours.The women were cautioned not to wear too many skirts, because the church would be crowded. However, Silvano asked me why I only wore three! I wasn't dressed up quite as much as 4 or 5 would have been.

Ruperta was in charge of the meal for the Huayllano choir on Friday before the big sing. We helped peel potatoes. Two big pots of soup were served.

In celebration of Harvest, Christ Rising, this day is designated to pay the Pacha Mama for the whole year.
Early in the morning, most families make their own personal offering in the form of a despacho, a package of prayers designated to be dispached to the Pacha Mama via the village shamen or pacos. We included coca leaves picked out of a beautiful handwoven cloth called an estallia, leaves chosen for their perfect shape, imbued with our prayers in sets of three called a k'intu. We added flowers and sweets, small drawings of our dreams and money both real and symbolic. All was wrapped in a paper package and then again in an estallia and brought to the top of the mountain to the pacos to be burned at the end of the day.

The officers of the community, or authoridades, meet in two ceremonial locations to offer coca leaves in prayer for the year. We attended the ceremony at the highest point on Taquile, Mulcina, where the pacos sat behind a wall through an arch, the authoridades sat before a large stone table in an enclosed courtyard with the people gathered around. A band played intermittently. We had several rounds of choosing our k'intus. Sam and I attended the whole ceremony and joined the procession down the hill at sunset.
Here are some pictures:

See the snow-capped peak through the arch?

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