November festivals (part 2)
Continuing our look into November festivals, we’re going further south from Mexico for a quick stop in Peru and maybe some other places as well.
La Diablada – Puno, Peru
This festival takes place in the week leading up to 5 November and it implies men dressing u pas demons.
There are several stories that tell about the origins of this festival, in one version the horned parade goes on the streets in remembrance of the departure of the devilish conquistadors in the late 19th century.
One other version of events has the procession as a way of paying the participants’ respects to the ancient spirits of Lake Titicaca.
Regardless of the particular reason behind the procession, what remains true is that the procession is lead by a local incarnation of the Dark Lord himself, accompanied by dancers who shake like possessed people.
There is nothing truly unholy afoot because the La Diablada grew from a mixture of Christianity and indigenous beliefs, a common characteristic for many Latin American festivities, and as a testament to this fact all the red monsters keep their crucifixes around their necks.
And in tune with many festivals around the world, religious in nature or otherwise, there food and drink to take in but make sure you get a class of La Diablada pisco or Peruvian brandy to help you take in the crazy and somewhat grisly display of the festival.
The city of Puno is known in Peru as being the capital of folklore for both La Diablada as well as its February event, La Virgen de la Candelaria festival, which also features a masked dance called La Diablada, a dance that tells the tale of trapped miners who battled an army of demons.
Besides the festival this does take place around Lake Titicaca after all, the remnant of an ancient inland sea, which itself makes for a tourism destination even without the demon costumed locals celebrating around it.