Inca Hockey: A new year’s ritual!
Quiquijana is a small town located in the province of Quispicanchi, 45 minutes from Cusco, the place is characterized by fervent celebrations of all kinds of customs, but there is one that draws attention in particular: the Gayado Q'asuy or the modernly named: 'Inca Hockey'.
This game has been practiced for years in the mentioned town and has always been done in the first week of January, so as to start the new year and bring together all the members of the community.
The place chosen for Gayado Q'asuy is Quiquijana square, right in front of the local temple, where the authorities, communal leaders, players and fans from all over the district gather.
The court is delimited before the game, the old wooden balls and canes meet in the middle and are blessed by the parish priest, the mayor and the leaders of Quiquijana, all call for unity, prosperity and a good agricultural year.
Before the Gayado Q'asuy the participating villagers gather at dawn to perform communal work and work until the sunrise, is when they return to the village, they rest and prepare for the parties.
The official attire are chullos and ponchos of the area, secured with belts to prevent them from falling or moving to impede the vision of the players, in addition to this the final touch put a good pair of slips, which provide good traction to the players, But do not protect them too much from the blows, it is common that the matches end up with injured members.
"This is a historical game that has been practiced for centuries, although it is true that the participation was much greater and with more communities, the game is still carried out and we seek to preserve it for future generations, because it is part of our Identity, " stated the mayor of Quiquijana.
In villages like Quiquijana, ancestral customs mingle with the Catholic religion, so the residents believe in God as well as the Pacha Mama or Mother Earth. This game is a latent sample of this cultural symbiosis since the triumphs are dedicated to both deities and both are thanked equally.