When the devil is on the loose
Most of the year, Tilcara (Jujuy) is a quiet town. Between its dusty streets and its earth-colored buildings, calm and silence reign, as if time had stopped. But when the devil is at large, everything changes. When the devil is at large, anything goes.
Once a year, during the carnivals, Tilcara and the neighbouring villages are filled with colour, festivity and joy. Religious and pagan beliefs are mixed and celebrated, and it all begins at a precise moment: with the unearthing of the devil, a little doll that symbolizes the sun that, for the locals, is in charge of fertilizing the Pachamama.
It is said that the devil comes down from the hills and mimics the villagers. That is why it is difficult to recognize it, to know who is who, who carries it with them and who does not. Colorful costumes and masks help to confuse identities at a party where anonymity allows the celebration to be unleashed.
Most of the year, Tilcara is a quiet town. If you want to get to know it in its most colorful aspect and live an unusual experience, it is better to visit it in February, before the devil is buried again and the calm returns to its streets until the following year.
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