Pilgrimage to Sixilera: notebook
Like many who travel the Quebrada de Humahuaca, this place fell in love with me and I decided to live here. Whenever I came to visit, I was able to do it during the summer, meet people, rocks, and many places and trails that I still discover every day.
Living here, in addition to its beautiful landscapes, I discover over the months the different festivities that the Quebradeños celebrate, which, by the way, are many! As they always say there are more parties than days of the year.
During Holy Week I went up to Abra de Punta Corral with some friends, a pilgrimage in which many bands of Sikuris and pilgrims participate. The town of Tilcara is very devoted to this Virgin and spreads her faith when she sees pilgrims of all ages, with such joy to go to accompany her mother from the hills.
In September they invited me to participate in another pilgrimage to the Virgin of Sixilera, patron of the farmers. With a little fear for the distance to travel, I finally decided to do it. Unlike the other experience, most of the people who climb are members of Sikurian bands, not so many pilgrims.
We left on Thursday, September 12 with the band San Francisco de Asís in the direction of the town of Huacalera. Upon arriving at the base of the hill, a local family shared bread and tea. Thus they waited for each band to assist them before starting the walk. They spent approximately seven hours walking until they reached the chapel of Sixilera. Once there, the band was blessed, they distributed soup and leather to shelter us during the night. There are some adobe pieces built for pilgrims and also many people who carry their tents.
During Friday the 13th we were sharing with the different roasted bands and drinks, while we waited for the bands that were arriving to assist them with food and shelter. During the afternoon of the same day a brief procession of the Virgin of Sixilera was performed accompanied by approximately 40 bands of Sikuris (something really amazing!)
On Saturday 14 at five in the morning we all woke up. Some women prepared tea and cooked mate to fight the cold. After a while he began his descent to the town of Tilcara. The Virgin, along with all the bands of Sikuris, was marching at a slow pace. After walking for 14 hours straight, we arrived at the Church of Tilcara at nine o'clock at night.
When we arrived, many members of the band I walked with (while they played and waited for the Virgin to greet her), some tears escaped because of the emotion they felt. I will probably never feel that emotion that they generate to accompany the Virgin of Sixiliera, but it is really contagious and if not directly, at least, indirectly my eyes filled with tears. Witt no doubt I will participate again in this pilgrimage whenever possible.