A poncho is a garment designed to keep the body warm, or if made from a watertight material, to keep dry during rain. The poncho, commonly associated with the Americas, is known as traditional clothing. In Peru, the most distinctive part of men's clothing is the handwoven poncho. Nearly every <>Quechua<> man and boy has a poncho, generally red in colour decorated with intricate designs. Each district has a distinctive pattern. In some communities such as <>Huilloc<>, <>Patacancha<>, and many villages in the <>Lares<> Valley ponchos are worn as daily attire. However most men use their ponchos on special occasions such as festivals, village meetings, weddings etc. In other areas of the world, some of the local names and variants are: <>chamanto<>, only in central Chile (yet still poncho in the north and south of Chili); <>jorongo<>, <>gaban<> or <>serape<> in Mexico; and <>ruana<> in the cold regions of Colombia. Serving not only as a cloak, a poncho may also be used as a pillow and blanket. When not being used for protection against the elements, a wool poncho makes a fine wall decoration. Today ponchos are known worldwide and are worn by men, women and children.
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Nicholas & Lucia Flores Aoaza from the Q'ero NationQ'ero Nation of Peru
The Q'ero Nation is situated at one day on horseback from the road to Paucartambo in Cusco and it is the oldest in the Inca Tradition. They live at 4,300 meters of altitude in the Peruvian Andes. They grow potatoes, olluco, oca (types of Andean potatoes). This is what they eat. They have a school for children between the ages of 7-14. Medical assistance is scarce. They work and live as a community of about 800 people. They marry among them and have kept their customs alive since the Inca times.
The main activity of the Q'ero people, besides agriculture, is weaving. They use natural dyes for their wool. Their techniques and designs are considered to be the closest to those of their ancestors. Their weavings have been shown at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC.
The Q'ero believe that they are descended from the Inca and consider themselves the last descendants. According to tradition, their ancestors defended themselves from invading Spanish conquistadores with the aid of local mountain deities (Apu) that devastated a Spanish Army near Wiraquchapampa.
The religion of the Q'ero is syncretic, consisting of a mixture of European Christianity with elements of the traditional religion of the Andes. Shamans of different levels (Altumisayuq, Pampamisayuq) still have a high reputation. They worship Mother Nature (Pachamama) as well as other mountain spirits like Apu Ausangate (Apu Awsanqati) and other regional dieties.
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