January Ollantaytambo Fiestas

1 January-El Sinkuy

El Sinkuy is a ceremonial ball game that is played in Ollantaytambo on the afternoon of January 1st and is organized by incoming officials (varayocs) from the surrounding communities of Huilloc, Patacancha, Kellkanaka and Yanamayo. The purpose El Sinkuy is to introduce new varayocs and other community leaders to the people of Ollantaytambo
Early in the afternoon, community members in festival dress began to gather in Ollantaytambo plaza, bringing with them jugs of chicha and breads in the shape of different animals (ch'askhuacos).  The game itself is played with six poles decorated with red flowers, which pairs of players attempt to knock down with two wooden balls.  The mayor of Ollantaytambo and the wife of a community leader are the first pair to play.  Each man that participates contributes a small amount of money each time they play, which varayocs use to buy food and drink for community members once they return home. Throughout the game, the bellow of pututus, or shell trumpets, can be heard, lending a distinct atmosphere to the event.

5-8 January - Bajada de los Reyes/ Dia de los Reyes Magos (Epiphany)
This festival celebrates the biblical Visit of the Wise Men and coincides with the taking of power of the Varayoc, whose authority is given to his successor with a silver-tipped staff as a symbol.  
The Bajada de los Reyes is one of the most important and interesting festivals throughout the Sacred Valley, but is celebrated most colorfully in Ollantaytambo. Residents of surrounding communities walk to Ollantaytambo in festival attire, with the communities of Huilloq and Patacancha carrying the image of Melchor (known as Marcacocha) and accompanied by Varayocs and dancers.  The beginning of the festival is marked by their arrival in the Plaza Principal of Ollantaytambo.  The festival features a procession in which two images, The Christ Child and San Isidro the farmer are walked around the city, and offers the opportunity to observe the traditional dances of Huayllascha, Huallata, Herreros, Sinkuy Wata Callarity, Chucchu and Negritos.  A bullfight takes place in the afternoon of January 6th.