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REVALUATING THE CUSTOMS OF OUR PROVINCES " TOQTO " Y " CHIARAJE " ... WAR OF OUR ANCESTORS


Within the festival calendar of the customs and traditions of the region of Cusco , the people of their districts and provinces , living with intensity and joy, parties and allegories that occur in the natural landscapes. A beautiful scenery and a varied geography, crowds of locals and visitors from everywhere on February 02 every year in the province of Chumbivilcas, District Livitaca ( Tocto leg ) Cusco holds a special "festival / ritual battle " strongly rooted in Andean customs that express the culture and identity of communities, which over time have spectacularly preserved their inherited traditions.

" The war between communities Toqto or " takes place in the village located between the districts of Yanaoca and Livitaca In the department of Cusco. Three days long and exhausting fights and representations of the past , when people fought to earn and acquire more land to their territories.

The first day peasants are installed and placed in the middle of a plain; where they spend all night, as they await the next morning to start the fight . They use their hands , feet and extensive whips made of cowhide , to whip the legs during the confrontation . The second day battle begins, they fight against each other and make groups of 5-10 people , in order to strengthen the bond between the groups. . Having eaten and drunk abundantly, the third day once again they have to fight vigorously against each other and when the battle ends, the wounded are helped by their relatives and family , meanwhile community organizes " qhaswa " or the party for the winners celebrating the defeat of the losers ; with dances , music and gastronomy.

  

" The struggles of Toqto " represent an important and peasant valued act of celebration ; for their high sense of cultural identity , struggling to conquer territories and acquire power. Communities have a stake in the provinces of Canas and Chumbivilcas .

The confrontation has differential inputs , people on both sides are coming in masses, walking , on horseback , motorcycle , truck, bus and truck. Toqto , 4200 meters above sea level; a dozen of men faces in a hollow between hills . "This is nothing more and nothing less than a ritual battle."

  

It is indeed a clash between settlers " caneños " and " chumbivilcanos " maintaining an old rivalry that once staged bloody encounters that were part of their stocks, . A battle becomes ritual when carried out as a tradition in which , although there are wounded and possibly dead, there was the obligation of the war, being almost a symbolic representation ( and why not , also fun ) that replaces the original. It is like a model of something that really will not be built.

Most fighters come from the province of Chumbivilcas , are young men who come from communities Wanako , Aucho , Q'ewincha , all belonging to the district Livitaca. Traditional opponents Canas generally come from the towns of Cheq'a and Q'ewe. Each year three meetings in Toqto are specified : December 8 , in the New Year and during the feast of Compadres ( with movable date in February). By contrast, in the town of Chiaraje , in the province of Canas , other struggles occurring at different times and only among the inhabitants of the province of Canas.

Do you want to know what is the origin of these so rooted customs, such as the tradition of these battles ?

Anthropological studies have dedicated time and research, but do not have even a version completely confirmed. According to the researcher Vicentina Galiano : " Livitaca is within the limits of Condesuyo and Qollasuyo. The fight Tocto occurs between communities Livitaca ( Condesuyo ) and communities Canas ( Collasuyo ) for recognition of their boundaries. Thus, the known limits rivalry between " k'anas " and " ch'umpiwillkas " would have led to the struggle for geopolitical and symbolic domain.
To this it could be added the hypothesis that it was the will of cultures that fought nature. The heart of the dispute is staged from longstanding Quchapata , instead linked to water. Along these lines, the anthropologist Héctor Espinoza maintains that the abundance of rains assured the winning side , " the fight was by atmospheric phenomenon".

  

Another version adopted by the participants of the battles ; It indicates that it was a way to prepare mentally and war in the years before the rebellion of Tupac Amaru II ; learning helped them to rise against the Spaniards and try to subvert the colonial order. But if you ask why the confrontation with a young " q'orilazo " bold , full of adrenaline, which will fight ; the answer will be , " just follow the footsteps of our ancestors.". How and why they are irrelevant ; historical facts are naturally assume as an ancestral duty.
This confrontation has similar Party " Chiaraje " ritual characteristics. In this unique event and not least , the sides of rural communities , which are mounted on horses brave to face using different ancient weapons such as loaded sling a stone regular size and cowhide.

In this place of confrontation and battle , people come from different districts of the provinces of Canas and Chumbivilcas ( at least seven communities on each side) at times of lower seasonal activity, between harvest and planting ; also held on February 2 , which formerly took place four times a year in certain celebrations that marked the beginning or end of season. The version of the tradition-bearers, who consider this tradition as a game also includes more than as a battle.

The peasant population attributed the fight to a show of strength and virility of the male participants , representing their hometowns. In fact, part of the wealth of this custom is to the elements associated with music and dance, as a means of courtship and falling in love between men and women in the communities ; definition that has been little studied and manifested in the various descriptions that have been made regarding this ritual battle ; which takes greater connotation in fact the confrontation itself.

  

As reveals this unique event , we appreciate that is part of the broad and recognized tradition of the provinces of Cusco ; perhaps few know , but those few long cherished and kept as a tradition that remains alive. . Such events allow us to evaluate and observe the vast and rich variety of facts and events that communities continue to practice as part of their identity , history and a culture that is gradually being recognized as heritage and admired by humanity. Cusco and provinces invite you to discover and enjoy one of its many customs and traditions such as the "battles" of " Toqto " and " Chiaraje " during the month of February .