Saturday, March 17, 2012

Yunsa Tree

Carnaval time is winding down and so are the Montes. Montes are parties that every neighborhood holds, kinda like campo block parties. These parties generally consist of a few key features: lots of beer, an orchestra playing huayno music, and a Yunso tree. Yes a good ol' Yunsa tree, a tree that someone cuts down from their chacra (farm) and then the people decorate it with blankets and other valuable household items. Then, while drinking and dancing in circles around the tree, the men take turns swinging an ax or machete (kinda dangerous), and try to cut down the tree. After a few hours, the tree will fall and two things happen: everyone rushes the tree to grab the items (people always get hurt during this part), and the guy who dealt the falling blow becomes the Yunsa tree's padrino for the next year (meaning he has to buy all the gifts for the tree next year).

Here are a few pictures of the Monte in Yuracoto. However, due to the rain and darkness, I went home before the tree fell. However, reports I got the next day informed me that the rush to this tree was particularly bloody, as the tree fell down the steep hillside nearby, making it very hazardous for the drunk gift seekers:

It was suppose to start at 3:00PM at 5:30PM they started to decorate the tree.

These two kids stayed up in the tree tying on "gifts" for a solid hour. 

The Yunsa starts to take shape.

It was held at the chapel, which never gets used, on the hill that overlooks Yuracoto. A storm started rolling in right at dark.  

I like this picture because of the traditional quechua woman  with her braids, hat , and blanket in the foreground... however, I had to sneak this picture, as she was pretty shy. 

The sunset and the tree was just starting to get cut down... Caraz is off to the left.

This was the last picture of the night. I left when the tree was still standing. 

Here is a picture of the chapel on the hill, that I took a few days later. You can kinda see it  as the white spot above the trees.