This past August 24, the population from Magdalena de Cao paid homage to the Mochica leader with a parade and a gastronomy and handicrafts fair. However, it was a theater performance and the unveiling of the face of the main priest of Huaca Cao Viejo, which amazed domestic and international tourists. We describe here all of the details of this spectacular celebration.
The Feast of the Lady of Cao started with a parade where the bust of the Mochica leader was carried aloft by the residents. The band from the Educational Institution Victor Raul Haya de la Torre participated in the parade by playing the most contagious marineras while one couple of youngsters were waving their handkerchiefs to salute the people. Behind them, were the chalanes and the paso horses, which woke a feeling of identity even among the persons who come from places that are far away from these wonderful lands.
The representatives from the Peruvian army deserve a special mention. They sang aloud the March of the Flags and the National Anthem while the Peruvian flag and the people’s flag were being raised. On this latter flag, one could see a phrase that summed up accurately this part of the Peruvian territory: “Magdalena de Cao: Ancestral and millenary land.
Later, the mayor of Magdalena de Cao spoke, taking the opportunity to announce that his municipality is preparing an ambitious project that will allow to bolster tourism. In turn, Ingrid Claudet Lascosque, General Manger of the Wiese Foundation, indicated that they are happy with this effort for and by the community in relation to the unveiling of the face of the main priest and the organization of the Feast of the Lady of Cao in general.
The celebration continued with an act that surprised everyone. The theater troupe “Máscara de Barro”, run by Sonia Rodríguez, was able to travel through time, placing us in the role of attentive spectators waiting to witness the “Ritual of the Lady of Cao”. Thus, it was the sound of the Andean wind instrument called pututo which announced the presence of the past, starting the entry of a priest, a zoomorphic character and Moche warriors. The priest cleaned the space to repel all of the supernatural beings, while the Owner and Lady of the Valley entered.
The Moche warriors who were immortalized on the murals of the huacas became alive and started a fight in front of the leader, who conveyed power even with a simple gesture. As for the Mochica battles, even the defeated one gets a reward, since, when he dies he goes to another world and reunites with his ancestors. Even more: they say that their families felt proud about these types of situations.
Once the fight was over, the pututo sounded again, but this time it was in order to connect the past with the present and to start the unveiling of the main priest. The actors of the performance stayed close to the bust, reaffirming the power of our past, while the public were paying attention to the priest’s face, his clothing and the position of his hands. Immediately thereafter, this became a worthy photo opportunity for all.
The event took place within the framework of the Vth Colloquium on Archaeology: “Collection Policies and Management in Peru”. Furthermore, for the third consecutive year, the gastronomy and handicrafts fair was held. This is an annual commemorative fair.