Pachamama Day: Celebrating Mother Earth in Cusco
1 August 2019
Since the times of the Incas and long before, people all across the Andean region have celebrated the rich fertility of the Pachamama, our Mother Earth.
Cultural and religious manifestations of gratitude for Mother Earth have taken place since ages long past in the valleys, villages and mountainsides of the Andes.
In the Quechua language, “Pacha” means universe, world, time, and place, and “mama” is mother. This is the Andean feminine deity of love, protection and fertility.
What celebration could be more important?
The spiritual connection and devotion of Andean native people for the soils, waters, plants and animals of the Andes is very deep, and is expressed in humble ceremonies of gratitude for the countless blessings received from the Pachamama on this Andean New Year.
Rituals and celebrations
Their gratitude is manifested in rituals as simple as the daily offering of coca leaves, but more elaborate celebrations take place every year during all of August, following the winter solstice and coinciding with the harvest season. Today, August 1st, is the main day for celebrating the Pachamama in the Andes.
These rituals are acts of reciprocity, of “feeding the Earth”, and the Pachamama is generous and hungry.
For farmers and herders, rituals known as “chaya” or challaco often involve cooking a special ritual meal overnight, the tijtincha, followed by a walk the next morning to a natural spring, an irrigation canal or other holy site.
There, in special rituals, offerings of ceramic pots of food, drinks (especially traditional chicha de jora, or corn beer), coca leaves and tobacco are presented to the Pachamama by being buried and covered in holes in the ground. Elders of the village or town are in charge of officiating the ceremonies.
Prayers are offered to the Pachamama, as well as to the four essential elements: earth, fire, air and water.
Other Pachamama ceremonies consist of spreading yellow flowers around the home. Herbs and incense, such as rosemary, cinnamon and sandalwood are lit for purifying or smudging the home.
This is done to open good energy, and to get rid of bad spirits, illness and sadness. A bath with fresh rosemary plants is also practiced. These simple rituals can be done anywhere to honor the
Also, this year look for an 80-minute children’s film Pachamama on Netflix, which tells the story of the adventures of a young boy who wants to become an Andean shaman.
We are all children of Mother Earth, and in this day and age, the fact that we are living thanks to the blessings and fertility of this small blue fragile planet becomes ever more apparent.
A blessing for us all
Celebrating the Pachamama, as our Andean ancestors always have done, seems entirely logical and important.
May the blessing of the Pachamama bring love, health, peace and fertility to you
and your loved ones, this year and every year!
Please join us to celebrate our diverse Andean festivities in Cusco by contacting andeanlodges.com to plan your amazing journey to Peru.
We’ll be happy to arrange your incredible trekking adventure to one of the most beautiful, pristine mountain regions on Earth, Mt. Ausangate, where you will connect closely with the Pachamama and experience Andean culture as never before, while enjoying comfortable stays at our four wonderful, ecologically-designed lodges.
Happy Pachamama Day!