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Carnival of Cajamarca

Cajamarca is the city that celebrates carnivals with more enthusiasm.

The celebration date is movable, generally during the first fifteen days of February. The celebrations last almost a month, since the preparation activities; the central days are just one week from Wednesday to Wednesday. The citizens organize in commissions by districts.

During the celebration of carnivals, the main activities are:

Election of the Queen of the Carnivals
It takes place the Sunday previous to the central week. Before the election, the candidates to this contest go over the city inviting the citizens to the event with "patrols" and cars.

"Concurso de Coplas" (Popular Songs Contest)
This contest has two prizes, one for the singer and one for the composer; representatives of neighbor towns, hamlets, districts or institutions participate.

"Jueves de Compadres" (Friendship Contest)
Celebrated at San Pedro's Neighborhood, is a ceremony in which friendship is in contest; if two men obtain a ribbon of the same color, they become "Compadres" (very close friends). At night there is celebrated a great party in a small plaza called "José Galvez".

"Ingreso del Ño Carnavalón" (Entrance of a boy doll as the representative symbol of Carnivals)
It is celebrated on Saturday of the main week, during the morning or evening, the boy doll presented is chosen trying to make fun of a public person of the city. They go over the city with the boy doll.

"Concurso de Patrullas y Comparsas" (Contest of groups of people marching and dancing around)
Takes place on Sunday during the main week, it is one of the most beautiful shows of the carnivals. The gangs with marvelous costumes dance and sing in an eternal party, in this party all the public that assist participate of the joyful spirit. 

"Corso de Carnaval" (Decorated Cars Contest)
It is celebrated on Monday, a contest between very beautiful and decorated cars takes place, and travel around the city.

"Unsha" (Dance around a tree)
Traditional feast that takes place from Tuesday until Sunday in each neighborhood. This ceremony and feast consists in dancing around a tree that has decorations and gifts in each branch. While dancing the couples have to try to cut with an ax the trunk until it falls down; the couple that makes the tree fall down has to organize the feast the next year as well as get all the presents for the branches.

"Velorio del Ño Carnavalón" (Wake of the boy doll)
It takes place on Tuesday in Santa Apolonia, where a chapel is built and "widows" assist, as well as all the citizens and public. During the night there is a contest of torches and costumes.

"Entierro del Ño Carnavalón" (Burial of the boy doll)
Finally on Wesdnesday a procession walks from Santa Apolonia to "Baños del Inca" 6 km (3.7 miles), and when arriving a funny testament is read in which politicians and public characters of the city are mocked, and then the boy doll is burnt.

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