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Andean and Occidental merge

Corpus Christi in the land of the Sun


On their arrival at Cusco, the Spaniards got surprised when they knew the God's children would take the Inca mummies in procession. Then they decided to finish with that pagan celebration. The missionaries, who were going with the conquerors, took a simple decision according to that age: they replaced the honoured remains by images of the Virgin and the Catholic Saints. Then the Corpus Christi, a catholic celebration mixed with Andean shades, was born in the ancient Capital of the Tawantinsuyo. inca.


     The "Chicha" (a kind of juice) runs quickly and it will always do, adding a touching feature to the words in Quechua and Spanish. The music going out of the "pututos", Andean trumpets made of marine snails, explode in deep sounds mixed with the strong ring of the María Angola, the biggest bell in America.

     Going back and forward along the Main Square in Cusco. The Faith is beating deeply in the heart of the Faithful surrounding the Main Square of Cusco or it is disguised with tears in the eyes of the devotees waiting for the venerable images of the city during the main day of the Corpus Christi: the Ceremony of the Sacred Eucharistic celebrated in June, 60 days after the Sunday of Resurrection.
 
 
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     And the expected day arrived. The Virgins and the Saints of the parishes in Cusco, around 15 in total, leave the Cathedral dressed with refined clothes and beautiful jewels.

     From their amazing silver biers, they observe their people, the devotees are praying, making the signal of the crucifix or lighting a candle. Some of them are rich, some are poor, but it does not matter in that moment, as all are brothers sharing the same faith.

     The Saints and the Virgins go along the Main Square as the Inca mummies used to do in beautiful biers made of precious stones during the ceremony performed to honouree the Tayta Inti or Sun Father.

     At the Spanish arrival, the missionaries tried to eradicate this celebration that they considered as a pagan ritual. Then, they decided to replace the mummies by sacred images and the Inca by the Christian God represented in the Eucharistic bread. The celebration of the Corpus Christi, a festivity celebrated in Europe since 1247, was established.

     But the strategy of the Ministers of the clergy was not so effective. The Sun's children refused to forget their customs so they included their dances, drinks and food in the Catholic ritual and they assumed the Saints had the same mummies' features. This explains the fact that the Corpus Christi is a celebration with Occidental and Andean features.


SILENCE: SAINTS TALKING
     The main day of the celebration is always on Thursdays, but the commemoration starts on Wednesday when the images leave the towns and communities near Cusco leading towards Santa Clara temple where they are concentrated some hours before the "entrance" into the Cathedral.

     Before, during and after the hard journey, the self-sacrificing officials are in charge of dressing and cleaning their conceited saints or virgins such as the Belen Virgin who is the most elegant and attractive. The Patron Santiago with his alb mount and Saint Jeronimo with his everlasting purple suit are also calling the attention.

     The saints and the virgins stay the night at the Cathedral. The following day, they leave in procession with the Holy Eucharistic so the Bishop can bless the people of Cusco.

     After the magnificent parade, the biers return to the main temple of the city where they would stay eight days. Thousands of people visit them in the mornings or in the evenings, but at nights they are only accompanied with their Officials.

     The famous Octave of the Corpus is then started, a real meeting of sacred characters. The dialogue begins when the Officials fall asleep.
In these night meetings, the word "Mamapacha" Belen has a great value, as she is the Patron of Cusco and the Mother of the "Señor de los Temblores" who is the host of this meeting.

     While the Patrons and Virgins are talking nicely, their devotees remember that living peacefully is not only by feeding the soul but also the body so they do not refuse the dishes of "chiri uchu" (a dish made of big pieces of guinea pigs, chicken, pig, toasted corn and cheese), or the heady little glasses of "chicha de jora"…ah, dancing a huaynito is always good.

     The Corpus Christi is an example of conciliation between the ancient and the new world where the celebration of the Sacred Eucharistic is mixed with the ceremony of gratitude to the Pachamama, the Tayta Inti and other Andean divinities that have managed to survive in the heart of the Inca Culture descendants.



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