The Messiah was born in February. Quinamayó’s ancestors, black individuals kidnapped from Africa, weren’t allowed to have a good time Christmas in December. That was an unique month for the homeowners of the haciendas. That’s the reason the Quinamayó ancestors determined to have a good time their very own festivities 45 days after the date dictated by the Catholic church, the identical time that the Virgin Mary saved her weight loss plan as soon as she gave delivery.
It’s an act of cultural and racial resistance that has been preserved for greater than 170 years by the inhabitants of the city, situated within the south of the division of Valle del Cauca. When the celebration arrives, the youngsters play biblical characters from the New Testomony, the matronas – feminine leaders – costume of their conventional costumes and virtually the complete city dances the juga, a musical style from Quinamayó.
Mirna Rodríguez, a matrona and singer, says: “They’re youngsters of the group who costume as angels, who give the ceremony earlier than the arrival of God on Earth; as troopers, who’re those who guard his method; as Mary and Joseph; because the Star of Bethlehem, performed by a woman who marks the trail to observe, and the godfather and the 2 godmothers, who carry the basket the place the Black Child Jesus rests.”
In Quinamayó a pure syncretism is lived. The satisfaction for its African roots shouldn’t be in battle with the Catholic fervour of a few of its inhabitants. They worship spiritual figures with black faces, to really feel recognized.
For Wilmer Izajar, a trainer of Cathedra Afro on the village college, “having black pores and skin shouldn’t be sufficient to recognise oneself as afro. You should return to your historical past and customs.” Izajar says Quinamayó was born as a palenque, a Colombian expression to seek advice from communities descended from enslaved individuals who fled the haciendas.
“After leaving the Hacienda Japio, they went down the Quinamayó River. And that’s the reason the identify of this city, due to that river that helped them attain freedom,” remembers Wilmer Fernando Izajar, a trainer on the Sixto María Rojas Establishment.
What was as soon as a logo of repression is right this moment reinterpreted as an act of resistance and freedom. That is the case of the juga, which isn’t solely a musical style performed principally by wind devices, but in addition a dance carried out with shuffling toes. It’s a direct reference to how individuals with chains on their ankles needed to stroll, however the juga turns it into dance steps, that are carried out at all types of events.
“Possibly younger individuals are dropping a little bit of that historical past and that’s why we don’t cease educating it in class,” Izajar says. Based on residents over 60 years previous, Christmas events are now not as huge as they was, as a result of now they rely totally on public sources from the state, and there are years by which the festivities don’t handle to happen, as occurred in 2022 due to the third Covid peak.
In any case, Quinamayó continues to be a reference for the Afro-Colombian id within the south of the nation. In a city that appears frozen in time, with cobblestone streets and ranch-like homes, cultural and non secular expressions don’t die, even within the youthful generations.
I imagine this ongoing mission, which I began in 2019, is essential right this moment, as a result of Colombia is a racist nation. We grew up underneath the concept of “enhancing the race”, as if individuals with African roots had been a inhabitants that needed to be fastened. And right this moment, racism manifests itself in discriminatory feedback on the street or on social networks. The inhabitants of Quinamayó struggle in opposition to that by manifesting a syncretism that invitations us to replicate on our racial and cultural range in Colombia.