Inside the lits of the National Park of Xingu, there is a region called Upper Xingu, made up of 14 ethnic groups, the village Yawalapiti where lives the legendary leader Aritana, held the Kuarup or Quarup, a beautiful ritual where the Indians mourn and honor the dead, in a ceremony where they play, sing and fight the huka-huka. This ceremony, that typically happens at the Upper Xingu, moving from one village to another because it occurs where some important member of the community has died.
The chief Aritana is the most respected leader of the Upper Xingu. He took over the leadership of Yawalapiti people, about 30 years ago and until now, he fights tirelessly for the preservation of the culture and habits of the Xingu Indians and strives to show young people the importance of being what they really are: Indians.
The Yawalapiti´s village that is commanded by chief Aritana and his son Tapi, is all circular, with a clean square in the center where all celebrations happen and it is also the place they bury their dead. The man´s house causes curiosity. A building like the others, but with lower doors. The flutes are stored inside, trapped the central beam. Women are not allowed there. The attention turns to the guardians of the flute that roam the hollow just presenting the outputs of cloistered virgins. As the village is circular, it is impossible to imagine how many rounds they given in the three days I was there. The virgins dance behind the guardians shy and hide when they stop to rest inside a hollow. This ritual marks the passage from childhood to adulthood and at the end, the girls are ready to marry.
In the morning, three trunks begin to be decorated under a tent. Around them, the relatives of the deads are sit. They cry and stop…cry and stop. When the sun begins to set the ritual start in the village center. The relatives of the dead gather, weep copiously, three light bonfires, around which, sing songs and dance all night. Gradually they arrive from other indigenous ethnic groups, the arrival is greeted with joy. They camp in the woods, a little distant from the center of the Village Yawalapiti.
Sunday is the day of the expected fight huka-huka. The warriors anoint the body with oil. I've seen some that have undergone scratches made on the arms and legs with teeth of fish to increase strength. The Yawalapiti are confident in the warrior Leo, a young man who stood out because he prepared intensively for the fight. He has not lost a fight in more than two hours of fighting.
Around noon, the ornate trunks are deposited into the river. It's the end of the ceremony.For defending human rights this year with Amnesty International, we say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!