To the beat of the drum, the Kichwa women from the town of Sarayaku, located in the Bobonaza river basin of the Pastaza province, in the south of the Ecuadorian Amazon, wait for the men who went fishing and hunting for 12 days.
It is the morning of February 10, 2017 and at 03:00 in the morning the Uyantza festival begins, with the arrival of the men (Shamunguichu), a traditional and cultural celebration of the Original Kichwa People of Sarayaku, where the women assistants of the four houses of the priostes enlist their best Mukawas, clay ceramics, filled with chicha de yuca chewed to receive the hunters.
The warrior men arrive at the beach of the Bobonaza River called Wituk Sas at 06:30, they return with yutes – dried meat pilanas, their sahino drums and covered in animal skins. Until ten years ago the festival was annual, then it was biannual, but from this year it will be commemorated every three years, as resolved in the ordinary assembly Sumak kawsay December 2016 of Sarayaku, highest authority of the People. This as a measure of preservation of the environment in harmony with the culture of the people.
This traditional four-day celebration unites women, girls, adolescents, men and the elderly in a single party where the women, along with their 25 helpers per house, prepare around 50 jars of chicha, collect the clay to make their best ceramics, while the men hunt and fish to feed those present.
The second day from the morning, the party continues with the bath of flowers – Sisa Armana, where friends, national and international visitors (press and friends) visit the four houses of residences, carrying 4 bouquets of flowers for women and 4 palm branches for men, one for each house. The chicha de yuca is never missing either as a drink or as the liquid used to bathe the attendees, since before carnival coincided with this celebration.
In the afternoon the assistants with each of the priostes of the four party houses come with all the flowers and bouquets, while the women adorn the church of El Peublo, the men with the palms surround the central square.
Sarayaku does not sleep during the party, the sound of the drum remains intact throughout. Each residence has its own drummers who tour the community at night with or without a flashlight, as they know the paths of the jungle well.
In the Kichwa community there is no electricity, they only have light from the solar panels that supply the computer center, the Peasant Insurance Health Center and the Ecuadorian Institute of Social Security, the central square and several houses (two sources).
The third day celebrated love and life
The Sarayaku people are believers, but they are also faithful to their customs. The marriage, the baptisms and the mass for the virgin of the community are officiated by a Salesian father, but behind him is always the oldest wise man of the Kichwa people, Mr. Sabino Gualinga, who with his spiritual wisdom blessed the beings of the jungle. the ceremony. Felix Santi, current president of the Sarayaku people, and Ernestina Aracely, were one of the couples who got married that day.
After finishing the religious act, the priostes together with the guests surrounded the central square together with the women who danced to the sound of the drum, then they moved to each of their party houses to carry out the great Kamari or collective food.
give back to nature
The fourth and last day, the bobonaza river bath is carried out and the Puru Pakina or breakage of clay pots. The people of Sarayaku consider that what they receive from nature should be returned. On the last day of the festival, they all walk to the beach of the main port of the Bobonaza River to throw the animal skins into the riverbed. Then each prioste goes home to start the Puru Pakina: breakage of clay pots. The party concludes with the empty jars.
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