Indigenous New Year

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This June 21 not only marks the beginning of winter, since this day until June 24th different indigenous communities in our country will carry out their celebrations of the Indigenous New Year, which occurs at the same time that the Winter Solstice. This date represents the return of the Sun to the Earth. The light returns, the nights will become shorter and the days longer over the next six months.

For the indigenous communities, the solstices and equinoxes always played an important role, based on the behaviour of the sun they were able to understand nature, which was very important for their agriculture and cattle. It is a period considered as a new beginning; the harvesting has finished and now the land prepares itself for the sowing season. The sprouts begin to appear, the animals change their fur and the rivers grow due to the rain and the thaw.

Several communities begin their New Year rituals by thanking Mother Earth and Father Sun, asking for a productive year and full prosperity for their cattle and harvests. The Aymara people celebrate the “Machaq Mara” or division of the year. During this celebration, gifts are offered to Mother Earth or Pachamama to reestablish harmony and to thank her for her generosity. All of this is done in a spirit of community, along with dances, music and traditional food.

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