The celebrations of Carnavales continue without ceasing in the city of Cusco. A week after the Day of Copadres (which you can see by clicking here) comes the Day of Comadres where the main protagonists are women.
On this day, you can see funny dolls all over town known as “comadres” which are the size of a real person. They can represent a friend or coworker. In this case, the doll emphasizes strengths and weaknesses in an exaggerated manner. Lately, this festival has also served to represent politicians and point out their scandals and the corruption of authorities that has been discovered recently in Peru.
These dolls are hung on public light posts on street corners or inside of institutions or popular markets. Many times, they’re accompanied by funny phrases that point out the personality of every comadre.
Men are the ones who organize this series of tributes to their female companions: from the making of the dolls to the decoration of the place where they’re hung. Music and traditional outfits aren’t lacking this day, and neither is the puchero, a traditional dish eaten in Cusco during Carnavales.
Salkantay Trekking visited the Ttio market in the district of Wanchaq, about 10 minutes in car from the Historical Center of Cusco, to enjoy this traditional festival and the happiness of the comadres. We want to share some photos with you so you can see more of this special day.
1. Streamers, pica-pica and colored flour: Some displays of affection in this festival are the colorful accessories used to adorn the comadres: the ones of flesh and blood and also the dolls. If you find yourself in a celebration like this, don’t be scared if someone throws colored flour at your face or wraps you up in colorful streamers. Just enjoy it! In this photo, we can appreciate the traditional outfit of the “mestiza,” characterized by a white hat and a thick, multicolored ribbon.
2. Two comadres together: One of the comadres, of flesh and blood, in the Condiment section of the Ttio market, poses proudly for a photo next to her comadre made of cloth. This day usually includes contests between the comadres to decide which doll is the best. In the case of the Ttio market, there was a procession of the Municipality of Wanchaq who visited the market in search of the best comadre.
3. Comadre of abundance: In this photo, we can appreciate a comadre in the Potato and Corn part of the Ttio market. She’s adorned with a beautiful outfit from the province of Chumbivilcas. She has a baby with a chullo (Peruvian toboggan). Besides this, she seems to be enjoying the puchero and diverse alcoholic drinks like beer, wine and frutillada, a traditional drink made from a base of corn and strawberries. She’s surrounded by foods like potatoes and corn, as well as flowers.
4. The mayor of the Wanchaq district participates in the celebration: It’s quite normal for politicians and authorities to participate in the traditional celebrations to strengthen their popularity among the people. In this case, the mayor of Wanchaq, David Mormontoy, surprised the comadres in the Ttio market with his visit. In this photo, we can see how he expresses his joy by pouring beer over the comadres.
5. Traditional musicians take part in the festival: Andean music is truly diverse and is quite widespread in the public sector. In this photo, we see an accordion player playing tones of “qhaswa,” the music that characterizes Carnavales.
6. The comadre in the Fruit section comes from the Amazon: This comadre displays the colorful clothing of the Chunchachas, a traditional dance in which only the women participate and which represents Amazonian warriors. The main characteristics of this outfit are the adornments made of coins and feathers. In spite of the fact that the Cusco region is mostly known for Andean culture, it’s good to remember that a large part of the territory is Amazonian, and from there come the delicious fruits sold in markets here.
7. A great meeting of comadres: Andean festivals are huge celebrations of friendship. Here, we can see a big group of comadres of all ages, very happy on their special day.
We hope these photos have allowed you to get to know a bit more about the traditions of the spectacular, unique city of Cusco. Salkantay Trekking will be there to help you live out a completely unforgettable experience.