Yunza

Peace Corps Peru Cajamarca Yunza A yunza is an age-old tradition that is specific to the department of Cajamarca. Within the department, every province and district does things a little different. If you read my last blog post you know that last Tuesday I went to a birthday party that turned out to also be the yunza for the district of Mitopampa! (Just to clarify department is the equivalent to a state, province is like a county, and district is like a town or city. I live in the country of Peru, in the department of Cajamarca, in the province of Santa Cruz, and I live in the capitol of the province so its just Santa Cruz.) Yunzas are celebrations that follow the final weekend of Carnaval. Traditionally, there is a padrino, or Godfather, of the yunza who provides the tree and fills it with goodies. In the majority of Cajamarca the padrino is the person who took the final swing and cut down the tree the previous year. Yunza tree in Cajamarca, Peru In Mitopampa the custom was a little different, and the yunza opened with a ceremony where the 2015 padrino gave a speech and then decided who would be the next padrino. The 2016 padrino then gave a little speech and the notebook of the yunza was passed on to him and his wife. The notebook keeps record of what is in the tree and how many cajas of beer are beneath the tree. The tradition is that whatever you take from the tree you have return two fold the next year. After the speeches the new padrino opened the yunza! People approached the tree and asked for things that they wanted. It was then recorded in the notebook what they took and noted that next year they will bring two. The teachers I was with ceremoniously ordered a caja of beer with the promise to bring two cajas the next year. Allie and I slyly slipped out of that one saying that number one we don’t drink and number two we can’t guarantee that we will be in town for the next yunza! It worked… haha no gringa names entered the yunza-book. Traditional Yunza The idea behind the take one bring two concept is that every year the yunza will get bigger and bigger and bigger. Although, I’d be interested to know if everyone actually follows through… I get the idea that the padrino’s job is to make sure everyone does. After the tree has been stripped of all the stuff people want, the band plays and everyone dances around in a circle taking turns chopping at the trunk with a machete. When the tree finally falls total chaos breaks out as a mob of people fight over a few bottles of pepsi, a broom, and some kitchenware. Yunza falls in Peru The catch is that if you go in for the prizes when the tree falls you are more than likely going to be soaked by people throwing buckets of water. Being that it was freezing and I was not in the mood to be soaked by dirty river water, I watched from afar and got some great pictures for all of you! Haha.