Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Carnival in Tarma

One night, just as we arrived home, a parade of people came down our street. Here at the right are some men dressed up as women:

Scott pulled out his camera and began taking pictures. The costumed people were thrilled to have someone take their pictures:

Even the adults wanted their pictures taken:

Proud parents also encouraged their kids to have their pictures taken:

Two days later, we ran into some more merrymakers along the main street of downtown Tarma. The band was playing loudly and the costumed people were dancing enthusiastically:

Crowds gathered to watch the revelers and to join in the fun:

All of this is part of the month-long celebration of carnival ("carnavales," as it is called here). Carnival occurs each year just before Lent, the 40 days of fasting prior to Easter. The most famous carnival celebrations are in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

In Tarma, neighborhoods join together, dress up, hire a band, and walk from their neighborhood to downtown Tarma, where the music, dancing, fireworks, and (of course, drinking), goes on until late at night.

Another Tarma tradition during carnival is the process of choosing a "mayordomo" (steward). The steward organizes a group, hires a band, holds a parade through the streets of Tarma, and serves a big feast. The following are pictures of a stewardship group walking up our street.

As they got closer, we saw the "mayordomo" (steward) holding the group's banner and dancing with his partner. The women were dressed in traditional costumes with native hats:

As the group paraded up the street, they occasionally twirled around as part of their traditional dance:

This couple strutted and danced to the music as they walked along. The woman wore the customary expression of being in a trance:

However, this woman couldn't resist a smile as she knew Scott was taking her picture:

Here you can see the dancers, followed by the band:

After the parade passed our house, some men on horses joined the group. Their horses pranced and bucked at the head of the procession.

The parade literally stopped traffic on our street, as you can see from the parked mototaxis (the three-wheeled vehicles that we ride in everywhere we go within the city.)

Life in Tarma is never dull.


Russ said...

Those are beautiful costumes. I'm glad you got pictures of the event.

Sharon said...

The people and the costumes are spectacular. Again...I feel like I'm right there. Great job of photography.