One of the most important characters of the indigenous culture, represented with its typical colorful mask is the Aya huma.
Source: Aya Huma Free Walking, 2020
Its origin dates back to the days of the Inti Raymi and everyone was celebrating. One night, a widowed man, sad and lonely, after having attended with food and chicha to the dancers who had come to visit him at home, he went to sleep.
It was not long when suddenly he heard the clamor of the dance near his house. The traverses flutes sounded with warlike melodies, the energetic stomping and the angry voices of animation complemented the rhythm of the dance. He thought that another group of dancers had arrived. He got up ready to offer food and chicha but he was surprised because the dancers had not entered the corridor of the house as usual, but were dancing only in the backyard.
He stopped before going out because something different was happening. The stomping of the dancers made the ground tremble, the music of the flutes seemed to come from everywhere and the commanding voices of the dance were heard like thunder.
Before going out into the backyard, he looked out through an opened door and saw that those who danced that way, were beings with human form that had two faces on the same head (one forward and one behind), had big ears and noses. His hair was thick and disorganized. Some had canes in their hands, others carried (whips) ushumpis and some played the flute with great skill. When he noticed his lower extremities, he noticed that they were wearing fur-covered clothing and that their feet were upside down.
The apparition lasted a few moments and with the same rapidity with which they had arrived, they disappeared into the cornfield and at the moment everything was as silent as before. Because of the characteristics of these exceptional dancers, the man understood that those who had come to his house were the “Aya” he had heard from his elders. He was so impressed with the strange appearance that he decided to make a similar outfit.
Trying to remember every detail, he made a two-faced mask and started dancing like the Aya.They say that this man never ran out during the Inti Raymi dances that lasted days and nights in a row. He was the one who guided and encouraged others at all times. He never suffered an accident or fall, was never defeated in any fight; he was the first to enter the fight and the last to leave it. When he danced, his feet did not touch the ground and he often slept between the thorns without suffering any damage. He used to bathe and sleep next to the waterfalls, lakes, springs and other ceremonial sites during these holidays.
Each Inti Raymi, this man demonstrated his great strength and resistance for what the whole community respected and appreciated. One day he disappeared from the community so the elders say that he was taken by the Aya, whom he tried so hard to imitate. They say that this man still lives in the brave places of the Pachamama helping with the strength of the Aya to strengthen the bodies and spirits of those who seek him in every ritual bath.
This is an original translation from the web: https://leyendasdeecuador.club/diablo-huma/