Andean communities gather for harvest festival after two year hiatus
By Fernando Gimeno
Peguche, Ecuador, Feb 20 (EFE).- Ecuador’s Andean communities on Sunday celebrated an indigenous harvest festival after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.
Pawkar Raymi, also known as the Festival of Flowering Maize, is Ecuador’s equivalent of Carnival and is a celebration of gratitude for Pacha Mama’s (Mother Earth) offerings.
Peguche — a Kichwa indigenous community in the canton of Otavalo, Imbabura province (north) — locals took to the streets from the early hours dressed in traditional costumes for this year’s celebration which was also awarded intangible cultural heritage status in Ecuador.
“This recognition comes from the importance that Pawkar Raymi has for Peguche, for the province and for the country,” said the Minister of Culture and Heritage, María Elena Machuca — who was named Achik Mama (godmother) of the Pawkar Raymi 2022.
“Ecuador is rich in our cultural diversity, where each festival connects us directly to where we come from, to our origins,” Machuca added.
Abundant rains this year mean bountiful harvests are expected, and women carrying baskets overflowing with vibrant fruits toured the community’s streets.
Delegation leaders, their faces painted white, chanted “Juyayay Pawkar Raymi!” (Long live the festival of flowering!) as they marched through the town and locals showered them with flower petals.
Revelers converged at the soccer stadium where they danced and celebrated the Andes’ most important agricultural festivity of the year, which coincides with Christian carnival celebrations and often runs until the equinox.
A busy program will run until March 5, and the most anticipated event will see regional teams clash for a soccer championship. The winning team will be awarded a replica of the World Cup trophy.EFE