As a bit of an antidote to xmas here in Cusco, Peru, we nipped out on Thursday night to see the film ‘El Dia De La Bestia‘, which was showing at the local ‘centro social y cultura’ Jabberwocky Project (fb page). This Spanish film from 1995 (info & IMDB) is an hilarious mix of of slapstick comedy, horror, and a liberal splashing of sangre, with some social comment thrown in too. It was shown in Spanish, no subtitles, and to be honest our recent intensive course of Spanish wasn’t much help. Luckily the images were clear enough to keep us entertained.
On our arrival in Peru back in November, we were rather perturbed to find xmas (navidad) was such a clebrated & commercial event here, and ever since the presence of xmas in the shops & urband centres has continued apace. Given the intense enforcement of catholicism on this land over the last 500+ years, it is perhaps not surprising that xmas is such a big deal. Locals tell us that the commercialised aspect of xmas has evolved enormously over the last 10-15 years, drawing in ever greater numbers of people to the feast of consumption.
Nowehere is this more the case than in Cusco, which has remained at the centre of enforced catholicism. The selling of xmas reaches a crescendo here on xmas eve, 24th December, when the main square, Plaza Mayor, is the location for a massive outdoor market – the ‘Santurantikuy 2016‘ – selling everything that’s even vaguely relevant. In fact in Cusco it seems that xmas eve is the day to celebrate xmas, as the outdoor market culminates in a large firework display. Cusquenians then eat a very late meal on the 24th, open presents, stay up late, and have a very lazy day on xmas day. Life returns to normal on the 26th, however we understand that the tourist trade does not stop for xmas, with many cafes & restaraunts open for visitors on the 25th. We’ll see!
As is the case elsewhere, and indeed back home in the UK, for the majority xmas is largely unaffordable, and there is a sudden display for a couple of days of charity & caring for those in need. Already in Cusco we have seen many campesinos coming into town (and sleeping rough outdoors for several nights) to receive food, warm drinks & some gifts. For their sake we hope the weather will not be too wet these next few days, and that those desperate for food and/or money are able to obtain some.