This is a very complex story with the Virgin as the center of the tradition and of the ritual power. The Statue of the Virgin arrived to Paucartambo around 1667. There are many stories of this statue origin and the celebrations with mystic relations between history and the daily life of the village. The festival with the dances on the streets is full with magic meaning and interpretations and it is closely related to the village’s landmarks like the bridge and the church and the people of Paucartambo.
Qhapac Negro performs a powerfull ritual dance which is the center of the celebration. They are one of the main keepers of the village’s traditions. They ask for the Virgin’s blessings and her protection for the village. Now they are bringing their magical traditions from Peru to participate in the Macao’s parade on 20th December.
Each dancer prepares his costume. The chains around their waists are reminders of their condition as slaves.The “Maki” has the form of a cepter with a rebellious black hand.
Cusco was the capital of the Inca Empire in Peru, Paucartambo is a beautiful village 100 kilometers to the East of Cuzco. Paucartambo is famous worldwide for its magnificent sunrise in Tres Cruces, one of the few places on earth where you can witness a spectacular sunrise considered one of the best natural tourism destinations of the world.
Paucartambo is also famous for the celebration of the Virgin Del Carmen, Mamacha Carmen, that take place every year between 14 and 18 July. Paucartambo hosts several thousand participants among local dancers and people and visitors who come to celebrate the Virgen Del Carmen on the streets these days.
Qhapac Negro and more than a dozen fraternities dance with costumes and masks. Qhapac Negro represents a group of black slaves brought to work in the mines of Potosi. The dancers are all male, led by a guide with a rattle. The slaves escaped during the celebrations of the Virgin and they disguised themselves in order to participate and dance in the street of Paucartambo. The dancers wear masks which represent an African face with exaggerated features. The dance represents the rebellion of the black slaves and their request for freedom to the Virgin.
For four days in a row, QHAPAQ NEGRO dances in the streets of Paucartambo. The center of the celebration is the church and
the village squares. Processional chants, litanies and hymns to the Virgin, are sung in Spanish and Quechua. Songs and dances are accompanied by a team of musicians with violins, quena flutes, an accordion, a harp and a bass drum.
Qhapac negro has performed in the most important cities around the world spreading the Mamacha Carmen veneration.
Source: Consulate General of Peru in Hong Kong and Macao