:: Transfer of Authority
At the start of every year; the elders of each community in the area (the yayas) come together to designate the candidates who are to become the highest authorities of their villages: the Varayocs
In a festival that features gallons of chicha (maize beer) and llonque (sugarcane alcohol), the mayor or Varayoc receives the scepter or vara that symbolizes his power. This pre-Hispanic custom has glossed over whith Occidental formalities.
The varas are crafted from local wood varietes such as chonta palm, black hualtaco, huallacán or membrillo, measure around a meter in length and are inlaid with gold and silver (Cuzco’s Town Hall features a small museum that exhibits some superb examples). When a Varayoc steps down from his post, he ceases to hold any post in his community ever again, and becomes one of the venerable elders.