t the atrium of the Cathedral, the trombone stops to be a "young lady" and becomes an instrument of wind again. The musician no longer thinks of the rebuffs, he only thinks of playing for the Virgin of the Candelaria, the compassionate image
that appeared in the mine of Laycacota to console lost men in the dimness of the labyrinth of the tunnels.
"Cheers to the miraculous virgencita, our beloved virgin", the devil, buttery and overjoyed, proposes maybe without knowing, or perhaps without remembering that the "mom" Candelaria transformed the ants into a lake and the toads and the gigantic snake into hills, that came from hell with the fateful mission of destroying Puno.
But the Virgin, also saved the city from the siege imposed by Pedro Vilca Apaza's rebels who rose up during colonial times. All around the city you could feel the fear of an imminent attack. It was the worst thing expected... What to do?, the fearful inhabitants asked about the approahing events. Suddenly, the idea occurred to them to take the sacred image out in procession.
The doors of the temple swung open and the "Mamita
Candelaria" went through the streets. ;Hearing the clamor of the town, the rebels didn't attack, because they confused the procession and splendor of the Virgin's dresses with the arrival of numerous reinforcements that would defend the square. Vilca Apaza and his followers abandoned the hills Azoguini and Machallata. Puno was saved by its Patron Saint.
It is the last night of the celebration. They have already celebrated the three masses offered by each one of the Virgin's stewards, the banquets, the fireworks, the procession full of faith, the colorful folk competition in the Torres Belón Stadium; now, the farewell steps are taken. The excitement dies down in the streets of Puno. The devils returns to hell. The "mamacha" will continue to be worshipped in San Juan's church until next year, when it will be carried by pallbearers at the head of the procession.
Texts and photographs: Rolly Valdivia Chavez
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