July 16 – Fiesta Virgen del Carmen in Peru

Posted on July 16, 2015

Today is the main day of the Fiesta Virgen del Carmen in Paucartambo, Peru.

The festival lasts four days, and there is a lot of dancing in traditional Inca and colonial costumes. Some of the dances tell about historical events in Peru's history, and some show off daring deeds and acrobatic tricks.

Today, in addition to dances, there is a huge procession, and people carry “the Virgin Carmen” around the town so that she can bless the people watching and scare away “demons.” The demons are played by dancers who appear on rooftops and balconies.

A lot of visitors also like to watch the sunrise at a place called Tres Cruces, in order to see an unusual optical illusion. People climb to a lookout that is 12,100 feet above sea level. They are able to look down over the green canopy of the Amazon Forest, which is often covered by clouds. And as the sun comes up, the moisture in the air acts as a prism. There suddenly seem to be three suns on the horizon – one stable sun in the middle, and another sun image that seems to dance from one side to the other of the stable sun. Because this "dancing" is quick, it can look as if there are three suns. Furthermore, the sunlight often stars out into cross-shaped rays. So...three crosses, Tres Cruces!

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