Afro-Peruvians celebrate Christmas with traditional dances

CHINCHA, Dec 26, 2018, ANDINA. Chincha —located south of Peruvian capital Lima— is popular for hosting Afro-Peruvian descendants who celebrate Christmas in a unique way: with traditional dances, reported the ANDINA.

Year after year, Chincha inhabitants celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ to the rhythm of Hatajo de Negritos and Las Pallitas —dances performed by men and women, respectively.

The festivity starts on December 24 (the eve of Jesus’ birth) and runs through January 6 (Three Kings’ Day Celebration).

Both Hatajo de Negritos and Las Pallitas are musical and dance expressions featuring people stomping, singing, as well as playing the violin and the guitar.

The foot stomping involves rhythmic moves of African descent to the beat of musical instruments evoking melodies with Andean influence.

Hatajo de Negritos

Hatajo de Negritos is traditionally danced by men, whereas Las Pallitas is exclusive of women. They are performed together as part of Christmas celebrations, particularly in Chincha province.

Dressed in white, dancers represent slaves and ancient Afro-descendant inhabitants who move around stamping their feet, chanting phrases, and holding jingle bells with ribbons tied around them.

During the festivities, males wear colorful sashes. Each of them carries a bell and an eye-catching whip with rattles.

Las Pallitas

For their part, Las Pallitas —Quechua word for ladies or shepherds— carry multicolored batons called “azucenas” while stamping their feet or singing carols.

Women wear bright color dresses and tulle veils.

Nowadays, the dance is replicated in Huaral and some districts in Lima. In these places, dancers wear multicolored costumes, silk sashes adorned with sequins, turbans, and hats.

The different Christmas celebrations all over Peru prove the country’s cultural richness, which is evidenced in multiple festivities held in Andean and Amazon communities, some of them declared National Cultural Heritage.

However, the coastal area keeps pace with the rest of the territory since Christmas is lived with great intensity in this region as well.

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