Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Avelinos of the Mantaro Valley of Peru

The Avelinos
(The Beggars Legend)

Dressed like old beggars they attacked,
like the old warriors: the Avelinos:
these soldiers from San Jeronimo—
of the Mantaro Valley—of Peru;
spies for General Andres Avelino Caceres
(in the 1880s)
attacked the Chileans, in the Pacific War…
now celebrated yearly.

Spanish Version

Los Avelinos
(La Leyenda de los Pordioseros)

Vestidos como viejos pordioseros ellos atacaban,
como viejos guerreros: Los Avelinos:
estos soldados de San Jerónimo—
del Valle del Mantaro—de Perú;
espías para el General Andrés Avelino Cáceres
( en los años 1880)
atacaron a los chilenos, en la Guerra del Pacífico…
ahora celebrada anualmente.

Prologue (Feast of the Avelinos): Five days in August each year, the little town of San Jeronimo de Tunan, of Peru, has its biggest festival that draws the whole Mantaro Valley to it, to include many folks from all over Peru, and the world in broad-spectrum. It is the “October Feast,” of South America you could say, of culture and devotion to the famous Avelinos, which is brought to its zenith pertaining to the Pacific War, fought in the 1880s with Chile, in the form of dance, drink and eating, and a mass given to bless the festivities. Along with a bullfight; several musical bands play throughout the center of city during these five days; Cable TV, along with every TV station available, and radio station in the valley are present and--presently, Mayor Jesus Vargas Parraga has insured the feast goes smoothly, and does a wonderful job doing it. It is an enduring event to say the least, watching and seeing and participating in all the events.

The Mighty Sore Foot

1) “El Quest de Avelinos”

With dark wide eyes,
a long red nose,
red thick lips and thick eyebrows:
the Avelinos came (with their
dark gray feathered bodies:
covered from head to toe):
came out of nowhere
to celebrate their own feast—
“The Quest of the Avelinos!”

With a horn attached to their side
a brown sack, on their back,
like beggars they came
to the Plaza de Arms
dancing like little mice:
stopping here and there
sharing—feeding (with
bits of meat, bread, fruits and
salads—corns) the cities
rich and poor, in remembrance
of the pacific War, once fought
by the Avelinos (long ago).

Note: Written the 1st day of the feast, after attending it for six-hours, and going back to my house in Huancayo, Peru.


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