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Communities Celebrate Traditional Carnival in Northwestern Argentina

By Ivonne Jeannot Laens
Global Press Institute

QUEBRADA DE HUMAHUACA, ARGENTINA – Communities of the Quebrada de Humahuaca, a UNESCO National and Cultural Heritage of Humanity site, celebrated one of the most traditional and famous Carnivals in Argentina from Feb. 18 to 21. Andean community members forgot about the strains of daily life in order to partake in four days of nonstop song and dance in Jujuy, a province in northwestern Argentina.

Each year, the celebration begins with “el desentierro del diablo,” in which community members dig up the “devil,” a little red doll that represents joy. Locals climb the hills to the sound of baguala music – a genre of folk music that is characteristically melancholy – until they reach the sacred place where the devil remains buried throughout the year. They offer food and drink to the “Pachamama,” or “Mother Earth,” to thank her and ask permission to celebrate.

The ritual comes to an end in silence. Participants remove their hats, and the baguala music stops. They begin to hear bands playing back in the towns, which draw crowds of people who sing, dance, and throw foam, flour and talcum powder at each other. Men and children dressed as colorful devils process through the streets, dancing at all hours of the day and night.

These days in which “anything goes” inevitably come to an end when they bury the little devil again. The people return to their homes, everything becomes quiet, and life goes back to normal until the following year.

(LatinaLista Editor: Watch a slideshow of the carnival parade found on the Global Press Institute site)

The story was originally published by Global Press Institute. (c) Global Press Institute 2012

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