Pouring out of churches, crowds fill the plaza with celebrants, flags fly with honour and a whole community joins in celebration. The communal celebration of purification by water marks the launch into Lent. This celebration is for children of all ages.
In the liturgical calendar of celebrations that happen before Lent, in North America we have lost the vibrancy and playfulness of Carnival. This past Sunday was the beginning of Carnival and we were welcomed into a festive community in Cusco. The altitude impaired our running skills, but the young and younger displayed celebratory energy. Some of us got caught in the exuberant cross-fire.
Just to wander around this much happiness, this much playfulness was rewarding. Yes waiters were spotted dropping water balloons from balcony windows. Yes kids were given soap guns by parents. Yes boys chased girls. Yes girls taunted boys. In the entire afternoon we saw a peaceful celebration. A community having fun.