Teofilo Torres drinks chicha, a traditional fermented maize drink, in honor of Santa Cruz or the Holy Cross in front of his house in a ceremony in the tiny community of Villa Ventilla, near Macha.
The people of Macha and surrounding communities carry on the pre-Columbian tradition of ritual fighting. The communities gather on the plaza of Macha to fight and dance in competition with each other. The blood that is spilled is an offering to Mother Earth. In return, the people ask for rain and a good harvest. This ritual is called tinku or fiesta de la cruz since the cross is also engaged in the festivities. The cross is dressed up, given offerings and brought from communities around Macha to the church in town. This syncretic festival melds pagan, pre-christian rituals with Catholic practice. /Felix Features