Sustaining traditional culture
Ñawpa Ñan means ‘Ancient Path’ in Quechua. This cultural work began in 1993, fourteen years before Pachamama’s Path came into being, and the amazing grassroots work throughout these years still serves as the strong foundation of our Sumak Kawsay (Good Living) philosophy, present in all the projects that have come to fruition since. These community members — in fact, original “teachers” so to speak – contributed years of dedicated investigation into their ancestral heritage. They consciously share an interconnected and interdependent life commitment to preserve their ancestral indigenous culture; serving as an inspiration for a viable path. As the work grew, and their own personal resources and life dedication could no longer sustain growth, they identified the need to find funding, so in 2007, fourteen years later, Pachamama’s Path was formed for this purpose. Today these programs are still alive with great potential for growth.
All of these cultural programs and events have been and are still made possible to this day thanks to the dedication, commitment, perseverance and sacrifice of the founding families that have never received any economic compensation for this cultural revival work. For them it is a way of life, an eternal commitment, and their life calling and vision.
Workshops and special events have included: textiles, painting, music & dance, theatre, games, arts & crafts, ceramics, medicinal herbs, nutrition, parenting skills, women empowerment, martial arts, sauna and herbal baths, festivities and ceremonies according to the Andean calendar (Solstice, Equinox, Southern Cross sighting, etc.), intertribal gatherings, healing work, cultural outings (excursions to ancient archeological sites to celebrate and honor the function of the sundials and other astronomic accomplishments and learn true history), oral history and storytelling, activation of ancestral agrarian practices called faena and minka, traditional communal work.
The Andean Calendar
It is through the practice of the Andean calendar and the philosophy “Ayni” (reciprocity) that we comprehend traditional knowledge based on human integration with the natural cosmic cycles, and through that a profound understanding of life in balance.
These celebrations, activities and events are held at cultural centers, sacred archeological sites, among various locations, and are the essence of our cultural revival work. Intergenerational participation celebrates the essence of ancestral Andean social structures of inclusion and community.
Machu Qhaswa / November — December
This is an ancestral dance that awakens primal beings to call for rain, and honors the elders as the strong ones because they possess wisdom and experience.
Kapac Raymi (Summer Solstice) / December 21
Time to celebrate the sun and receive its strength in its most potent point.
Pukllay / February — March
Couples dance for four days celebrating, honoring and promoting fertility and abundance for all beings: including plants, animals and humans.
Equinox / March 21
Celebration of the sun as it is in the middle of its path.
Harvest Time / May — June
Celebrations for harvest time.
Chakana (Southern Cross) May 3
Time to honor the Southern Cross while in its zenith.
Coylloriti / May or June
Three day pilgrimage to the sacred source of water (glaciers) and the sacred meteorite.
Inti Raymi (Winter Solstice) June 21
Honor the sun in its lowest point, offer the sun strength in reciprocity.
Reciprocity Offerings / August
This is the time of year to make offerings to the Pacha before planting; reciprocity with Pachamama.
Equinox / September 21
Celebration of sun in the middle of its path.
Tarpuy (Planting Time) September
Note: This is the calendar used in our educational and agrarian projects. Wiñay Taki Ayllu offers an amazing presentation following this calendar, and recently was presented in Cusco as Nuestras Raices, Our Roots, by the Kusi Kawsay Association to raise awareness and funds.