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The Poncho Festival

In order to keep its traditions alive, Catamarca commemorated another year online of the acclaimed National and International Poncho Festival.

Los 50 años de la Fiesta del Poncho

The  National and International Poncho Festival  is undoubtedly one of the most important cultural expressions in the province of  Catamarca  . It takes place during the month of July and the event brings together a significant number of tourists and locals eager to enjoy a new edition every year. It was born in 1967 and, with the passage of time, achieved that the province could  take root as an  identity  its textile and artisanal tradition,  which is recognized nationally and alsoin the rest of the world.

 Poncho  is the symbol that identifies the Catamarquean people and emerged as a tribute to the work of spinners and weavers, to claim  ancestral weaving techniques . They are the real protagonists of this celebration, which in this 2020 turned 53 years. A  love for culture, music and food is also woven here, making it one of the biggest winter festivities in Argentina.

The celebration lasts 10 days and offers a wide variety of artisanal and artistic shows that summons nationally recognized singers, performers and dancers. The event takes place at  the Fair,  located 4 kilometers from  San Fernando del Valle de Catamarca.  By the impact of its reach — by little — it was spreading into the streets of the block. Around 700 artisans are deployed there. In addition, the event transcends borders and allows the participation of artisans from Chile, Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador, as it plays an important role in the economy and also serves as a  niche market. 

In its last edition it was made in  virtual format  through the hastag  #DesafioPoncho , where they were shared and photographs that people uploaded on social networks. In this way, it was possible to live the experience of knowing the  variety of fabrics  of Catamarca artisans and artisans respecting the norms of social distancing because of the coronavirus.

Tradition, music and sustainability

Thanks to the importance of the Festival, it helped to recover a species that was in danger of extinction. The  wild vicuña  is the one that provides fiber for the manufacture of the fabrics. At the same time, what is attempted to rescue is the  ancestral technique of shearing,  which is considered one of the most traditional in the Catamarqueño people. It was the artisans and artisans who, through the generations, transmitted this knowledge that was perfected in ponchos and carpets. Although the most representative is undoubtedly the poncho, which is done with a fine technique that takes 8 to 12 months.

In addition to the handicrafts, another space of the  festival is the music  festival that takes place there. Today, it is home to about 8000 people who enjoy folklore and dancing. Little by little the  gastronomy  was added completing the visitor's tour and offering different items such as wines, olive oils, spices, sheep and alpaca fabrics, among others.

Publication Date: 31/07/2020

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