My Peru - A Guide to the Culture and Traditions of the Andean Communities of Peru

A Guide to the Culture and Traditions of the Andean Communities of Peru

 

Introduction to the culture and traditions of Peru

Responsible tourism in Peru

Peru communities and mountain villages

Peru maps, Maps of Peru

Peru homestay program, staying with local families in Peru

Handicrafts in Peru, Peru handicrafts

Traditional clothing in Peru

Traditional dances in Peru, Peru dances

Fiestas and festivals in Peru, Peru festivals

Education in Peru, Peru educations, Peru schools

Traditions, customs, ritual and beliefs in Peru, Peru cuctoms

Natural medicines in Peru

Agriculture in Peru, Peru farmers

Peru photo gallery, photos of Peru

Photos of Peru taken by local people

Drawings by children from Peru

Stories of Peru by local people

Local ngo non governmental organizations / charities in Peru

Peru website links

Traditions, Customs, Rituals and Beliefs in the Andes of Peru

Traditions of Peru > Despachos

 

Despachos and Pagos (Ritual Offerings)

    

Despacho is a Spanish word meaning offering. In Peru the word pago is often used meaning literally a payment in the form of prayers and material gifts of food, alcohol and other items considered necessary. The offerings are usually made to the spirits residing in the highest mountain peaks (known as Apus) or to Pachamama (Mother Earth) or to a combination of the two. The ceremony is usually performed by a Misayoq, a specialist in Andean rituals (commonly equated to priests). Misayoqs are believed to possess the ability to communicate directly with the mountain spirits and natural forces.

>> For more information about the contents of a despacho click here >>

 

The ceremony generally takes place outdoors, in the middle of a field. The misayoq (sometimes referred to as a Paq'o) lays an unkuņa (a small rectangular finely woven cloth made from natural alpaca) on the ground, orientated in the direction of the nearest important Apu such as Salkantay or Ausangate. He places a large sheet of white paper on top of the unkuņa and upon the paper places one by one the various elements that make up the offering.

 

There are many variations of despachos. While there are certain elements common to all despachos the particular healing intention determines the final design and some of the contents of the offering. The intent of the ceremony may be to bring about harmony and balance to the earth (such as abundant crops and fertile animals), honour a new beginning (such as a new house, business or marriage) or to get rid of an illness or negative energy. Despachos can also be made to ward off witchcraft and sorcery. Participation in the ceremony can help reinforce spiritual relationships between members of the community and cleanse each participant of negative or heavy energy. This heavy energy actually becomes part of the offering.

 

It is very important that the ceremony is treated with utmost respect and faith. It is often said that a badly made despacho or a ceremony that is attended by participants who treat it as a game can often do more harm than good. Traditionally the misayoq will not charge a fee for the ceremony and any payment is completely voluntary although a small tip or payment in kind is always expected.

  

Introduction / Responsible Tourism in Peru / My Community / Maps of Peru / Andean Homestay Programme / Peruvian Handicrafts / Traditional Clothing in Peru / Traditional Dances of Peru / Fiestas and Festivals of Peru / Peruvian Education / Rituals, Beliefs and Customs in Peru / Natural Medicines in Peru / Agriculture in Peru / Peru Photo Gallery / My Photos / Drawings by Peruvian Children / Stories of Peru / Local Non-Government Organisations NGOs / Links / Site Map

 

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