This activity takes place on Sundays after Corpus Christi. The music of the speakers is silenced to give way to the sounds of Andean instruments. The celebrations of Corpus Christi in Pujilí were celebrated intensely.
60 national and international “comparsas” delighted more than 20,000 tourists. The “Emporio musical”, as this Cotopaxi canton is known, was the center of national attention on June 2. This great celebration is the prelude to the Parade of the Native Dancer, which takes place on Sundays after Corpus Christi.
During this traditional event the music of the speakers of the digitized devices is turned off to make way for the authentic sounds of the Andean instruments. This is a family celebration in which “comparsas” from rural communities such as Alpamalag de Acurio, Juigua Yacubamba, San Vicente, Vásconez, Alpamálag de Verdezoto, Pungo Chapel and Jachaguango are presented.
That is where this ancestral character originally comes from. During this parade the “Tushug”, “Priest of the Rain”, or dancer maintains more resemblance with the ancestral characters that dance to thank the god Inti (sun) the crops that provide food for his people.
The indigenous dancer is known for covering his face with a mask, which gives him a mythical anonymity, “no matter who is behind, the important thing is that it represents the faith of our people,” said Segundo Caiza, 72.
The suit keeps the coins and mirrors that during the conquest period the Spaniards gave to the Indians in exchange for the gold that adorned their clothes originally. They also have a head carved in wood and decorated with bright colors that symbolize the joy of the party, in whose upper part they move freely, as if they had life, feathers of endemic birds.
The head measures 60 centimeters long and 50 wide, and weighs up to 60 pounds. Dancing with the heavy suit is a feat. “It is quite heavy, we do it with pride to represent the strength of our people,” said Juan Quisphe, from the Alpamalag community of Acurio. Quisphe, 54, personifies the legendary dancer since he was 17 years old.
His father helped him put on the heavy clothing for the first time. Remembers that nerves invaded him, also the pride of knowing he was the bearer of a legacy. What she liked most about the first time he dressed as a Dancer and still likes it so far is the sound produced by the bells that are attached to her ankles. Considers that getting the sound of these bells tones with the melody that the pingulleros solemnly produce “is an art”
He confesses that it took him years to achieve it. According to Juan Albán, head of the Department of Culture of the municipal GAD of Pujilí, the Indigenous Dancer is an Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Nation.
During the Sunday parade it is possible to appreciate the very essence of one of the most important characters of the Andean cosmovision. The preparation for the presentation is a ritual. “It is a preparation similar to a marriage in ancestral terms because it is from here for life, because this constitutes a contribution for future generations and for the world because it allows us to radiate our customs to all cultures,” says Albán.
Both the “Mama Danzante” and the dancer are guided by a colorful character called “Mayor”, who is in charge of making way for the comparsa. To choose it within the community is postulated to those who stand out for their physical resistance and have good knowledge of the tradition.
Julian Tucumbi fulfilled this year with that role. He guided the dancers of his group Los Tucumbi who carry the folklore of the Emporio Musical, as Pujilí is known affectionately. For Julián, the weight of the years is only a mental apparatus, since he has the virtue of a fifteen-year-old to lead.
“The native dancer is a reality of the Andean Ecuador, a pride”, commented Gustavo Segovia, a drummer who has been singing this instrument for 30 years. The drummer is in charge of evoking melodies with the bass drum and the pingullo, instruments that date from the Inca period.
Segovia is a lover of the culture of his people, he sees the pingullo as an object that emulates the sound of the wind, and the drum as an instigator of the rhythm, because each blow helps the dancer to set the pace. It is a seductive synchrony that is complemented by the sound of the 12 bells that have been hanging from the legs.
The dancer does not dance for his amusement or that of the audience: his dances are a cultural expression. This is how they interact with the environment. “Spectacular. With the dance he transmits the living magic of our Andean culture, I feel how my indigenous blood vibrates in my veins, “commented Gloria Torres, Cuenca tourist.
The feast of Corpus Christi is a celebration that combines Christianity, brought by the Spaniards, with indigenous traditions that pay homage to the Sun God and thank for the harvests of the middle of the year. Historical data signal that this party is made since the sixteenth century, 60 days after Easter. (I)