Day 6 – Marca, Peru – San Lorenzo Festival

IMG_0655 Marca holds a festival honoring San Lorenzo for 5 full days, every year. Every year! A village that has a population of maybe 1000. Five days and nights of music, dancing, food and drinks, all free to anyone who comes. Two to three families host (Majordomo) every year. There’s one night of the most fantastic firework/pyrotechnic show that I have ever seen and I’ve seen Fourth of July fireworks in DC. Four or five bands roam the village and play music through out the day.

I can’t help but wonder how amazing a festival in a bigger city might be if a tiny village in middle of nowhere can throw a 5 day long celebration.

We only caught one day worth, but we caught the most exciting night. The night of the fireworks. It started with more dancing at one of the Majordomo’s house.


We had dinner there and then walked to one of the plaza to watch the Inca procession.  There is Inca king, representing the old empire/culture/religion and his followers.  They dance all night, starting around 4 – 5PM into early morning for all 5 days.  The woman dancing with the Inca?  D’s cousin Lourdes.  If the Inca selects you, by giving you the pink cloth flat, it is a great honor and you must dance with him.


Three female “followers” representing the three majordomo families.  D’s cousin was a one of the female followers last year because her Aunt was a majordomo.  She said it was exhausting.


Not the best picture, but that’s Soso in pink pullover and hat.


Then we had to put Soso to bed. The fireworks didn’t start until midnight. When I went back out, the temperature had dropped to about 30 and I wore one of the traditional wool poncho for warmth.


This is one of the pyrotechnic scaffolding. There were four in total, each grander than the one before.


Here’s a sampling of the show. The pictures don’t do justice.


They would start with one twirling wheel, then another, then a string of fireworks would go up a structure, then something else will start and it would just build and build. Just when you think it is over, something else would go off.. Then it would end with some display honoring San Lorenzo.


We got back home around 3 or 4 AM.  The party was still going on, but we were leaving later that day and had to get some sleep.   Not that we could sleep much.  There was music and fireworks didn’t stop.

We finally got up in time for the Mass celebrating San Lorenzo.  Grandmother was able to join us.


We had to push her on a wheelchair. Thank goodness D and his cousin were able to pick her up over rough spots.

Inside, fresh flowers decorated the church.


After the Mass, everyone paid respect to the Saint. These were the Captain of the Swords. They were part of the Inca dance procession.  Behind them are one of the Majordomo family.


Later on, there was bull fighting, but D’s cousin said it wasn’t real. More for fun and goofing around then a true fight. We missed it because we had to leave for Lima.

In the end, it was sad to say good-bye to D’s Grandmother. I wish we could have spent more time.


She made him promise to come back next year. I hope he can.

I’ll end with a final photo of D’s cousin and relative in the traditional Marcan dress. The shawl is what distinguishes the outfit from other regions.


And the decorative hats all women wear.


One thing I know, if we do go back, Soso will want her own traditional dress.


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