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Customs

Atacameno festivals and ceremonies are imbued with a deep and intense interaction with nature. Main offerings are made to the Pachamama(Ay/Que) Madre tierra, madre universal andina. , the earth; the mountain spirits, tata-cerros; and to the water, tata-putarajni, as well as to the ancestors, tata-abuelos.

Traditional patterns of beliefs, knowledge and symbolism, based on mythological conceptions, ritually reenacted, last until today.

Main Atacameno festivities are:

The Carnival

The cleaning of irrigation canals (La limpia de canales),

The flowering of the livestock (El enfloramiento del ganado),

And the prehispanic ancestors cults, tata-abuelos (El culto a los tata abuelos o antepasados prehispánicos).

Traditional Rituals I

Momia en vasija. Museo Padre Le Paige San Pedro de Atacama

The Andean-Christian syncretism manifests in different local ceremonies, especially at the patron saints' celebrations.

Each village has its saint, patron of the town. Along with this community protector, there are saints worshipped for their miracles. San Antonio, for example, is the llama herder's patron.

According to the local beliefs, the Virgin of Guadalupe appears in a creek that crosses the Aiquina village.

Traditional Rituals

Músico Atacameño, preparándose para la Fiesta Patrona

The Andean-Christian syncretism manifests in different local ceremonies, especially at the patron saints' celebrations.

Each village has its saint, patron of the town. Along with this community protector, there are saints worshipped for their miracles. San Antonio, for example, is the llama herder's patron.

According to the local beliefs, the Virgin of Guadalupe appears in a creek that crosses the Aiquina village.

Candelaria is the main festival of Caspana, even though San Lucas is the patron of the community.

The community holds the second lieutenant responsible for the organization of the festival. Women, belonging to the house of the second lieutenant, prepare the meal called "boda" (wedding), served to special guests.

These rituals, related to the annual agricultural cycle, are characterized by the Atacameno traditional rites, which have blended with Christian beliefs, constituting an expression of Andean-Christian syncretism.

Geronimo de Vivar, chronicler - secretary of Pedro de Valdivia conqueror, comments:

"They speak with the demon they take for a friend..." This description refers to the shaman practice in which he communicates with the spirit or supernatural being.