The Andes Altiplano, or high plain, sits at 12,000 feet above sea level in southern Perú and part of Bolivia. The region is host to festivals throughout the year that celebrate the rich culture that spans more than 5,000 years. In early November each year, the highlands come alive for one week during the colorful La Diablada Festival. The festival, held in Puno on Lake Titicaca, intertwines ancient and modern rituals into a celebration of dance, music and folklore.
“La Diablada” means “the devil” in Spanish. The festival melds the traditions of the pre-Columbian Anchanachu cult practiced by the Aymara people with the traditions of Catholicism brought by the Spanish. Anchanachu was a demon that haunted isolated places, inflicting disease upon the unwary who came in his path. The demon is also believed to suck the blood of those asleep. The Spanish discouraged the spiritual practices of the native people. Instead, they introduced the Christian concepts of good overcoming evil. Over time, the customs of the ancient Andeans were combined with those of Christianity to create a distinct form of religion in the region.
During La Diablada, people dress in spectacular costumes representing the devil. Elaborate masks worn by the dancers cast an eerie atmosphere over Puno and Lake Titicaca. Native instruments and drums provide traditional highland music for the ritual dances. Heavy red crosses worn by dancers contrast with the fierce demonic masks, accentuating the interplay of good versus evil. The festivities also feature local Peruvian food, handicrafts, daily parades, performances and street dances.
La Costanera Restaurant offers guests authentic Peruvian food that celebrates the long cultural history of Peru and the Andes. New interpretations of classic dishes include elegantly presented grilled meats and vegetables on skewers reminiscent of Peruvian street cart food. Fresh fish and highland vegetables are artfully prepared. Enjoy a pisco sour, a traditional Peruvian brandy highlighted with cinnamon, lime and egg white. Join the staff at this Peruvian restaurant near San Francisco for an evening of Peruvian heritage.