Those who wish to visit the magical country of Peru may notice how its inhabitants have great respect for Nature and ecology. Their beliefs are strongly rooted in their religion, culture, and worldview. Especially in the Andean regions, where certain beliefs date back hundreds of years if not thousands. These traditions are still being practiced these days despite the arrival of the conquerors and continuous globalization. We are talking about the belief of the Pachamama, one of the first deities to appear in pre-Hispanic cultures. An offering to the Pachamanca is one of the oldest and most sacred rituals in Peru. And for this reason, together with the travel experts of Machu Travel Peru, we have prepared a small article about Pachamama. So that when you arrive in the country, you will not be surprised by the many rituals that take place in the surroundings.
The main beliefs of the Pachamama before and after the conquerors
- About the Pachamama
- What is the meaning of Pachamama?
- Pachamama in the Andean culture
- Pachamama history
- Holidays and festivities
- Relevance in the present day
- Pachamama rituals and what to expect
ABOUT THE PACHAMAMA
The Pachamama is a deity belonging to the Inca culture. This divinity represented our planet as a whole, a sentient being. That is, the land in which we live is a deity that the Quechua and Aymara-speaking Incas revered. The goddess Pachamama or Mama Pacha was one of the most important deities of the ancient inhabitants of Peru. So, where does the name Pachamama come from? Her name comes from the still quite vivid Quechua language, which can be translated to Mother Nature, Mother Earth, Mother Universe. So this deity can be understood not only as mother earth, but also the nature that we perceive in her. And the life cycle that it comprises.
The Pachamama was one of the deities that represented a great variety of values and concepts. This deity cared about the fertility of the people, the ripening and harvesting of crops. She also represented her generosity and abundance and used them to protect those who worshiped her. The word Pachamama comes from both the Inca Quechua language and the Aymara language. This word took different paths to be pronounced in the way we know it today. And the concept of Pachamama is generally related to agricultural production. And when it comes to current customs and beliefs, the Pachamama belief is still valid and very much alive. Although there are considerable changes in Pachamama’s belief due to the growing Catholic faith.
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF PACHAMAMA?
Since long before the Incas, the Pachamama was the deity that represented Nature in general. So what is the Pachamama meaning? The word translates to Mother Earth from the ancient Quechua language. The word Pacha can be translated into various words such as the universe, world, or earth, while Mama translates to Mother. But in general, Pachamama translates to Mother Earth or Mother Nature. If you wonder what language is spoken in Peru, Spanish is your answer.
Although Quechua is still quite alive in the interactions of many inhabitants of the Andes. In ancient times the Pachamama has been venerated as a fertility goddess. It is the Pachamama who gives farmers their crops of potatoes, corn, and Coca leaves, among other things. Pachamama is also the spirit that embodies the snowy mountains or Apus. She is the one in charge of bringing rains, droughts, and thunder if necessary. In conclusion, we could say that the Pachamama is the omnipresent deity of the Peruvian Andes that has the power to destroy or give life.
PACHAMAMA IN THE ANDEAN CULTURE
In the Andean culture, an offering to the Pachamama was a way that the peasant could deliver what he was taking away. It is a ritual of reciprocity between the material and the spiritual world. The rituals of the Pachamama were a way of thanking and balancing the relationship between man and nature. So that later man could take back his crops and fruits of the land.
The Incas believe that Pachamama is a God who protects mankind, whose purpose is to ensure that people are full and enjoy a high quality of life. According to the ancient cultural traditions in Cusco, the reason why it is still praised is to ensure the relationship between the Pachamama and the people. The celebration is an appreciation of nature and a way for humans to say that they don’t take it for granted. It is believed that this tradition of giving and receiving can maintain order and harmony between man and nature.
Besides, in the Andean culture, the Pachamama is also a deity who cares about material goods while ruling over the spiritual universe. Therefore, this deity symbolizes in one way or another the human environment in all its aspects. And those who venerate the Pachamama will maintain a reciprocal and balanced relationship between the human and spiritual environment.
So, what is the legend of Pachamama? Inca religion and worldview were formed thousands of years ago. As for “Pachamama” or “Mother Earth”, she is the female soul of nature, which is why the Incas regard her as the provider of everything: life, food, animals, water, atmospheric and geological phenomena, fertility, etc. It could be said that the Incas took various influences from numerous pre-Hispanic cultures to shape their religion and worldview. With the conquest of the surrounding cultures, the Incas were taking influences and other religious aspects that were later incorporated into their culture in general. The entire Inca economy is based on agriculture, so you can understand the importance of Mother Earth in their culture.
The tradition of venerating the Pachamama dates from pre-Hispanic times. The Inca culture was the protective divinity of the Inca Empire. The Inca culture affirmed that the Pachamama was in charge of feeding and preserving the well-being of man. So her celebrations involved acts of reciprocity and praise of nature. According to the Andean culture, Pachamama requires celebrations to continue maintaining alliances with man. The Incas respected nature a lot, so much so that the mountains were gods. They were called Apus and they occupied an important place like the Sun God Inti and the Pachamama. Each deity had a material dimension that it took care of.
HOLIDAYS AND FESTIVITIES
As for the celebrations, the first day of August is related in the Andean world as a day of gratitude, requests, and veneration. The first of August of every year begins the month of Pachamama, where different celebrations of this divinity are held. It is a way of thanking our mother nature for all the services provided.And what is the celebration of Pachamama? It is a way of asking and thanking for past and future harvests while giving different gifts and food. The Pachamama is the mother of the world, the mother of all living beings. Therefore, the first of August is an important day to smoke and have joy. Cleanse the energies, offer different gifts to the earth, and much more. Throughout the month people dress in bright colors, different traditional dances are danced, and much more.
The day before the first of August is known as “La Llamada“, where both the corrals and the houses and orchards are shaken with abundant smoke and incense to drive away evil spirits. It is a way of calling good energy and good vibes. During the day of the Pachamama, many things are done. From marking cattle, marking sheep with colored wool, and shoeing horses. But in the afternoon, in a dug well, a little of everything that has been produced is offered to the Pachamama. From coca leaves, fruits, corn, and a part of the food that has been prepared for the day. The celebrations last until dawn and consist mainly of parties with dancing and singing. One of the best things to do in Peru.
IS IT WORTH IT?
If you are looking for reasons on why visit Cusco city, the Pachamama Raymi festivities can be a great opportunity to discover more of the Inca culture. On August 1, some offerings are prepared for Mother Earth which includes: candies, wine, coca leaves, Huayruro seeds, Chicha de Jora, and other beverages. Each product has a different appetizer, and some options are paired with wheat, barley beer, or sweet wine. The Andean priest offers a series of products and offerings to give thanks and ask for protection, fertility, and other intentions that are related to the next harvest. If you want to participate in the celebration of Pachamama Raymi, make sure to visit Cusco on August 1st.But, who celebrates Pachamama? Pachamama Raymi is predominantly celebrated by Andean cultures. But you can see rituals and celebrations throughout the year.
RELEVANCE IN THE PRESENT DAY
Over the years, the Pachamama celebrations have been nurtured with new meanings, concepts, and symbols. But the backbone of the celebration is based on a reciprocity offering that has not changed over the years. The main celebration has remained the same for generations. But it is worth mentioning that the celebrations differ greatly depending on the place and region of Peru. For example, in some Andean communities, the tradition of burying a clay pot with abundant food inside continues. In addition to food, fruits, seeds, coca leaves, Chicha de Jora, and everything else considered necessary are added to the pot. Once the pot is buried, it is covered with a mound of stones that becomes a ceremonial center. The tribute to the land is called “Challa“.
But these celebrations are not unique in August, they also usually take place on the first Friday of each month. Some families do the ritual before going on a trip, before a major purchase, or before starting a major project. These days where the planet suffers a clear and severe ecological crisis, the view of the Incas in nature proves to be one of the best-posed philosophies for these contemporary times. If you are planning a trip to Peru, you should go to Cusco where you can witness the wise ways of the Incas related to the environment.
PACHAMAMA RITUALS AND WHAT TO EXPECT
Indigenous people celebrated festivals and rituals to honor Mother Earth and thank her for all that she offered. These rituals and celebrations were a way of thanking the earth for the infinite resources it provided. From the trees that were cut down for their wood to the crops that the indigenous people planted. Even the very plants that were used for ointments and medicines were a source of appreciation. The rituals of gratitude to the Pachamama can be done at any time of the year. You can usually take part in these rituals if you consult a tour operator like us. Those who are in charge of leading these ceremonies are Shamans who claim to have powers of communication and connection with the protective energy of the earth. Within the Peru tourist map, you will be able to visit numerous archaeological sites where these rituals are performed in the surroundings.
Today there is a kind of symbiosis or syncretism that can be seen in certain Catholic celebrations. This symbiosis can also be appreciated in colonial religious art, where the Pachamama was represented as a kind of “Virgin of the Mountain”. But when it comes to celebrations and rituals, many of the ancient traditions and customs are still valid today. What is the Pachamama ritual? She is worshiped in rituals through different offerings. These rituals can be large offerings to the earth as well as simple rites of gratitude. A common treatment is to pour the first few drops of beer before the first sip. Another very common way to thank the Pachamama is to offer a llama fetus. When this is dry, it is buried on the foundations of buildings or in some important crop field.
“EARTH WAS CREATED FOR ALL OF US, NOT SOME OF US.”
As you can see, the cult of Pachamama is still very much alive in our time. And knowing about our ancient traditions so deeply rooted in our way of living is one of the ways to get to know Peru. Being able to be part of a traditional celebration is an excellent way to get to know the ancestral culture of the Incas. If you want to know more about our tours in Peru, you can consult with our qualified advisers. Together with Machu Travel Peru, we hope we have satisfied your curiosity. Our team of professionals will be delighted to help you make the trip of your dreams come true. What are you waiting for to start getting to know Peru?