The Pachamama deity on the Andes

1. What is Pachamama and what does it mean?

The Pachamama or Mother Earth is a divinity that represents nature for many Andean peoples of South America. In Inca mythology, she is recognized as a goddess associated with the feminine and fertility, as the spirit of the earth, which is why the Incas were very respectful of their environment. She is also known as the wife of lightning.

2. What is the Pachamama ritual?

The main ritual of Mother Earth is the “Challa”, payment or tribute. It can be done on the first Friday of any month, the best stage being the 1st of August or throughout the month. Just as it can be done on special occasions to ask the Pachamama for grace and good luck. This action includes a kind of ritual steps, which consist in the preparation of a special meal the night before and it is offered the next day in a special stone formation called the water hole or in the intake of an irrigation ditch where the main ritual is carried out. , in which the food prepared beforehand is offered together with drinks, mainly coca leaves and cigarettes.

En la actualidad el pago a la Pachamama se realiza también por familias cristianas y pachamamistas, teniendo así diferentes variaciones en la ofrenda y la comida.

3. Where did the Pachamama originate?

Pachamama in the legends is a young and beautiful divinity that has its origin in the Collao or Altiplano area. Since mother earth has a singular beauty, everyone wanted to marry Pachamama, one of them is Wacon, with a malevolent character, however, she chooses Pachacamac; Wacon’s brother, considered the maker of the world and the heavens. By winning the duel for the love of Pachamama, Wacon is dissatisfied and begins to create droughts and floods in the terrestrial world for which he is expelled from heaven to the caves. After this event Pachamama and Pachacamac have twin sons called the Wilcas.

4. What is Pachamama fed with?

  • This practice is based on the delivery of offerings in payment to the land on the day of the Pachamama celebration. The residents make these offerings as a sign of gratitude, requests or favors by delivering a payment in advance, with material elements of natural origin called dispatches.
  • The most popular and that are normally delivered together are the coca leaf, banana, chicha, wine and certain seeds from the jungle with symbolic and magical power such as the huairuro. And among some rarer we have rice, starfish, cookies, sweets, mixture; among others.
  • The offices are different according to the place, territory or ecological floor. This ritual revitalizes the energy borrowed from the Pachamama during the agricultural year.
  • In the area of Puno and Bolivia the dispatches are sweeter.
  • In Cusco they are more linked to their ecological floor in the sacred valley with products such as corn, beans, etc.
  • The dispatches are also made with the purpose of multiplying their herds. The horticulturists or fruit plantations smoke coca and dry skin of the snakes with incense in vegetable and rocoto orchards as well as offer llama and vicuña fetuses, people believe that these offerings are better received.
  • Normally these offerings are made on August 1, but they are usually made throughout that month.

5. When is Pachamama’s day?

August 1st is a very special date for Latin America; It is Pachamama Day. It is a day of gratitude to Mother Earth for her protection and providence, this date is characterized by an awareness of what the earth offers us as well as reminding us that we must respect and care for it above all else.

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