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ARAPA, the worship of a lagoon

  • 2 min read

It is believed that the first inhabitants of this place arrived in a stone raft. The truth is that they were descendants of important pre-Incan civilizations who handled with mastery fields such as astronomy, agriculture, medicine, and architecture. This knowledge was later absorbed by the Incan Empire and brought greatness to this region. Most importantly, they all had great respect for their lagoon, their source of life to this day.

Over 3800 meters above sea level in southern Peru, life in the town of Arapa revolves around the beautiful Arapa lagoon.

Classy Arapa municipality coat of arms

Photo: Arapa municipality

When you can see the breathtaking sunrise over the lagoon, you can understand why Incas and cultures before them worshipped the Sun god and Mamacocha (Mother Water). Fishermen here may be the happiest people in the world since they can enjoy this show every morning.  It is also because they work in the most important business here: fishing and trout farming. This activity is so important that a group of Arapa women have recently started an ambitious sustainable aquaculture project that not only employs many locals, but also supplies a fine type of trout that is served in world-class restaurants in Peru and abroad.

Classy Arapa Peruvian fish restaurant

In the islands, life is quiet; the only sound comes from the waves bathing peacefully on the shores and from some cattle and sheep living happily among towering cactus forests. The humble and hardworking islanders enjoy a quiet lifestyle; they fish, work the land, and take care of small family businesses. However, when it is time to celebrate, they do it with the same passion with which they work.

Every year, people from all over the town celebrate the Carnival of Arapa to honor Pachamama (Mother Earth), hoping for a good harvest. The men play the traditional Andean flute of Arapa called “pinkillo”, while dancing and flirting with women who sing in Quechua, the native language. Their colorful handmade costumes and flags they wave during the dance represent the joy and the flowers of the region, like a “living garden” −as they call themselves−. The traditional dance of Arapa is so popular that it is taught in most of the schools in the country.

Classy Peru pinkillo

 

Among the characters cheering the festivity, the mystical seer Pukllay Machu shows up before the end of the event to tell people about the next harvesting season. He comes in a totora reed raft and, while giving advice, he also gives fruit that is cherished by locals as it is considered a gift from Pachamama.

 

Classy Peru Totora

 

Legends and traditions that we share with you, thanks to Classy and its Arapa baby alpaca scarf.

Feel the art of Peru on your skin by wearing the fine and beautiful Classy’s knitwear!

Sincerely yours,

Ara.

Main image: gertrudis2010 , CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

Classy Ara virtual tour guide Ara was born and raised in Peru. Since she was a little girl, she has written skillfully and always loved to travel. In recent years, he has worked in translation studios and in the travel industry. Ara says her work is a passion and a way of life, which is also reflected in the Peru-themed "virtual travel" articles for Classy.