Archive for December, 2011

Yellow for New Year's

Yellow for New Year's

By Walter Coraza Morveli and Hebert Edgardo Huamani Jara (Translation by David Knowlton)

Three, two, one, Prrrr…. “Happy New Year” erupts in popping fireworks and bursting rockets as everyone gives all near a hug and a wish for happiness and all things good, while scattering a handful of yellow confetti on their head. At midnight, the navel of the world explodes in joy, like cities the world over as one year in the calendar turns to another.

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Senses of the Street

Cobbles up Hill

Cobbles up Hill

By David Knowlton

To get places in Cuzco I walk. Through my shoes my feet feel the roundedness of old cobblestones or the flatness of stones shaped like bricks. They feel the smoothness of cement and the softness of asphalt. Sidewalks are not broken by tree-roots into jagged planes like at home, but are smooth, broken only by square, open holes for utilities with no cover to protect the unwary pedestrian. Your feet have to see and sense. Read the rest of this entry

Abundance of Fruit

Papayas Delivered to the Door

Papayas Delivered to the Door

By David Knowlton

Skiffs of rain scatter over the city of Cuzco these days. When they crash to ground they leave the orange tiles wet and the streets gleaming with water. People complain about the cold and fear catching cold. Nevertheless, this is a time of increasing abundance. Read the rest of this entry

Manna in the Streets

Maná in Cuzco

Maná in Cuzco

By David Knowlton

Wide, white kernels of soft corn adorn many street corners in Cuzco where they join other snacks that keep the city going. Called maná, which in English means manna like what fell from heaven in Sinai, they are popped but are worlds away from the popcorn which is also often sold on Cuzco’s streets. Nevertheless, they have a deep history in this city. Read the rest of this entry

Chicken, Christmas Eve, and the Change of Time

Chicken Soup on Christmas Eve

Chicken Soup on Christmas Eve

By David Knowlton, with the help of Walter Coraza Morveli and Hebert Edgardo Huamani Jara

Three, two, one, the people of Cuzco count down on Christmas Eve, as if waiting for a space ship to blast off from Cape Cañaveral.  They do this deep into the night, that magical time when the moon and stars rule the skies, a time when–though many people do not realize it– the machulas, the ancestors, can come out from the earth and till the fields. Read the rest of this entry

Christmas in Cuzco

Christ Child in the Municipality

Christ Child in the Municipality

Christmas comes to Cuzco in a combination of tradition and new as it builds its own present from these different influences. One way in which this is visible is in the decorations that fill the city. Another is in the Christmas baskets that businesses give to their clients. What follows is a photo essay of both. Read the rest of this entry

Christmas Eve Santurantikuy Market in Cuzco

Santurantikuy, Christmas Eve

Santurantikuy, Christmas Eve

By Walter Coraza Morveli (translated by David Knowlton)

Christmas Eve the Plaza de Armas, Cuzco’s main square, blossoms with a Christmas market.   Under gray skies and sometimes rain, people filled with joy still fill the square to go from stand to stand where Cuzco’s many craftsmen display and sell their wares year after year.  Called Santurantikuy, Quechua for “to sell a saint” the market is a Cuzco tradition. Read the rest of this entry

Hot Chocolate and Togetherness in Cuzco

Gifts and Hot Chocolate

Gifts and Hot Chocolate

By Hebert Edgardo Huamani Jara (translation by David Knowlton)

Christmas in Cuzco is a time of much demand for products and services, commercialism is strong, but it is also a time of brotherhood. To build this solidarity many groups in the city organize feasts, dinners and especially what are called chocolatadas in honor of the birth of the Christ Child. Read the rest of this entry

Sweet Bread and Christmas in Cuzco

Slice of Panetón

Slice of Panetón

By David Knowlton

A tall wedge of lightly citrusy bread laden with colorful fruit goes with Christmas in Peru, like the Inca Pachacutec goes with Cuzco.  Just as his statue and image is found in many places in the city, so Cuzqueños and Peruvians everywhere will lift that wedge to their mouths before sipping hot chocolate on Christmas Eve.  It is tradition, but one that is filled with the complexity of Peruvian history. Read the rest of this entry

Plaza San Francisco

San Francisco

San Francisco

By Walter Coraza Morveli (translated by David Knowlton)

One of Cuzco’s most popular plazas and one with much culture and tradition is the Plaza San Francisco, some three blocks from the Plaza de Armas. It attracts many tourists and locals with its tranquility and its colonial architecture, making it one of Cuzco’s gems. There you can enjoy a break watching the fountain, reading, or simply watching half the city pass by. You can also enjoy the snacks offered by vendors, or sit and read the newspaper while getting your shoes shined. Read the rest of this entry

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