Since the dawn of time the Solstice celebration has united people around the Earth and the Sun. In Peru the Inti Raymi (Festival of the Sun), was a sacred celebration in honor of the sun god and marked the beginning of winter.
The myth tells the story of how Pachacamac sowed corn from Vichama’s teeth, and from their ribs and bones were born yuccas and other fruits. From his flesh came cucumbers, pacaes… and ever since they did not know hunger, and their luck continued with abundance and fertility of the earth. (From the myth of Vichama, Antonio de la Calancha).
Peru is a land blessed with abundant food and produce with high energy, nutritional and healing value. Collective wisdom has managed to select and domesticate 182 species and many varieties of each species. This wealth has been passed from generation to generation, in a careful process of selection and recovery of better seeds of different products. Many of them are unknown to the world and others are being reassessed as highly nutritious foods for their content of dietary quality and their contribution to human health.
Currently, each end of June this spirit of conservation turns into a festivity, bringing together producers and their families to exchange seeds, in different parts of Peru. So, we went from Lima to Huanuco – in the center of Peru – to participate in the Muru Raymi, whose literal translation from Quechua is the Feast of Seeds. The best climate received us in a land where the sun always shines in an intense blue sky.
It was a real feast of agro-biodiversity for producers of tubers, roots, grains and fruits. It is a ceremony of exchange of seeds, from communities of different altitudes of Huanuco, to share their products and seeds in the main square of Huancapallac, in the Quisqui District. We attended a ritual with dance and music, where all of us paid tribute to the Pachamama, mother earth, where conservationists farmers shared with their community their best seeds, to grow further in biodiversity and food security, as they have been doing for generations. A sense of hope was seen in the faces of the people. Eyes full of questions and hands full of products of multiple shapes, colors, flavors, benefits!!
You could say that just as there are the bank seeds of Svalbard in Norway and genebanks in Peru, the “Muru Raymi” would be the way the Andean Peru keeps alive its agrodiversity.
With the intention of honoring this ancient wisdom I am making this documentary that I entitled “Hatun Phajcha, The Healing Land”, where Hatun is large and Phajcha is a waterfall. This large waterfall, or waterhole, is the source of the Andean worldview. This film seeks to highlight the concept of environmental awareness, an ancient tradition in what we now call Peru. In Huanuco we witnessed that this culture is alive.