14:20 | Huanuco (Huanuco region), Dec. 30.
Although the measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic forced authorities to suspend it, the region of Huanuco celebrates its biggest festival "The Festivity of Los Negritos de Huanuco in honor of Baby Jesus" at home and through images broadcast on social networks.
It is a very special traditional celebration, which brings together a cultural tradition and a profound religious sentiment.
The festival —linked to Christmas and the adoration of the Divine Child Jesus by the Three Wise Men (the Magi)— runs from December 24 to January 19.
The origin of this dance is uncertain. Historians and chroniclers have not been able to determine exactly what year it first appeared.
Some people say that this folkloric dance originated during the colonial era, while others believe it was during the first years of the Republic, when the release of black slaves was stipulated.
Once freed, the Afro-Peruvians invaded the Andean city of Huanuco to dance in the streets and express their faith in the Divine Child Jesus with their dance.
Over the time, African descendants disappeared and were replaced by mestizos, who had to wear masks to keep the tradition alive.
Moments of the celebration
The celebration takes place in three moments: Brotherhood, Adoration of Child Jesus, and Farewell, in which dancers take off their costumes —which they wear to perform such a colorful dance— to close the show.
For three weeks, the city of Huanuco becomes a gigantic stage where "Los Negritos" show off their dance moves. In addition, the dancers showcase the beauty of their costumes and masks.