Festival in Cacha

Center of the ceremonial circle.

After spending a week in Quito, Ecuador I made my way to Riobamba, which is the town closest to my site in Cacha.

This morning I took a taxi down to Cacha because my contact told me they were having their annual festival and I wouldn´t want to miss it and she was right!
The ceremony was held in the square right in front of El Museo de Cacha in the Pucara Tambo tourism project where I will be staying when I move there tomorrow. There were seven white circles chalked on the ground with people standing barefoot on each one and a group of people in the middle of the circle surrounding the fire that made up the center.

A ceremonial position

The people in the center were two drummers, two horn blowers, a man and a woman holding candles, a woman holding a flag and a man in white who was directing the ceremony.

The man had the people take positions, which they would have to hold for a certain amount of time. The first is show in the first picture where they are squatting while holding their hands like they are praying and the second is shown above where they have one foot off the ground and their hands out their sides. They were then asked to jump up and down and chant what the man in white said.


Then they turned so that they were standing in two circles following one another and they danced around and around to the music provided by the drummers and horns and finally danced themselves out of the square. Then the chicha ceremony started with each person coming up to the man holding the jug of chicha and taking a gourd full, then holding the glass up to the sky while they said something and then drinking their portion. After this we were all served a huge plate of food, mostly made up of potatoes and corn, with a little salad and chicken on top.

I got to take a look a the museum really quickly before it closed and talked to some of the people working there and am looking forward to getting  back to Cacha tomorrow to take my time going through it.

Posted by Sarah Szabo – MA Candidate at CLACS at NYU

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