Sunday, May 25, 2008

Mysterious Parade of Food

I'm here in Cuzco, once the capital of the mighty Incan empire. How things change ....

I ran into a parade yesterday, full of colorful costumes, music, and dancing. I'm not sure what they were celebrating, but here is a short video and some pictures of the festivities.

There were 50 to a hundred different groups of people, each group dressed in its own costume ranging from traditional Andean dress (bowler hats on the women, with colorful round dresses) to the bizarre (there was a group dressed as hobos, with fake gray beards; pictured to the right).

At the head of each group in the parade were signs displaying that group's affiliation. Comite de Huevos, Comite de Jugos (Egg Committee, Juice Committee)--perhaps they were proud of their food. I don't know. I asked a passerby what it was all about, but his Spanish was too fast, and he didn't stick around to repeat what he said.

Nearby was an outdoor food court, where one could watch the cooks roast up cuy (guinea pig) over a hot fire. I opted to hit the supermarket and buy groceries--rice and beans for me, no rodents, please. I think I'll form the Comite de Frijoles y Arroz.


Anonymous said...

I really like the hobos!
They have egg necklaces. Did you see? Funny!


They say it's a cold world said...

The Hobos, with their long beards and patchwork coats, are almost certainly representations of the racist caricature of the "wandering jew," doomed to wander the earth for all eternity after spitting at Jesus on the march to the crucifixion. While the specific origin and meanings of this figure, and even his religious affiliation, have in many places been lost to the vagaries of memory, the character survives in many carnivals throughout the Americas. In Haiti's Jacmel carnival packs of "juifs errant" stumble through the streets making buffoons of themselves and generally behaving parsimoniously in bizarre moments of street theater. Your dudes look remarkably like them, despite the thousands of miles and the broad, deep culture gap between Andean Peru and the Afro-Caribbean. No surprise, perhaps, since carnival as a tradition likely started up soon after the Spanish Inquisition.