February 12, 2013 by jiejie768
On Saturday, we ventured down into the city center for the Carnaval parade, where groups from each barrio, as well as many organizations and schools, dance and sing through the streets. We met up with Amanda, a friend of GeGe’s (and now ours) that we met about a week ago to watch the festivities. Amanda runs her own NGO (Ruraq Maki…check out their website) and someone she works with told her that there were 120 groups in the parade. The parade began at 3pm. At 5pm we headed to Via Via for tequenos and drinks. The parade was on group #15. We stayed at the restaurant for approximately 2 hours. The parade was on group #35 when we left. This was going to last all night.
The parade was interesting, but a bit repetitive. The groups do the same dance, in more or less the same costumes. The only difference I noticed were some changes in the song lyrics, which seemed to reflect something about the group’s identity. A few groups, like the one from the Centro de Salud (Health Center), incorporating some “surprising” elements that kept things interesting.
One of the most surprising elements for Ryan and I was seeing our roommate, Edson, dancing with the Carmen Alto group. He remains a mystery to us, but I guess we’ve at least figured out what he is always practicing in his room.
The Carnaval parade is the definitely the biggest event we’ve ever seen in Ayacucho. The plaza was packed with people. The celebrations for the Battle of Ayacucho, back in December, were not near as large. I can’t even image what Semana Santa (Holy Week), Ayacucho’s most famous celebration, will be like.