Annual Beauty Contest in the Peruvian Rainforests.

bIn this June 23, 2015 photo, Yeni Casiano Barboza, 15, from the Ashaninka Indian community, Natividad, poses for a photo while waiting to compete in the annual beauty contest, in the Otari Nativo village, Pichari, Peru.
For Ashaninka men, a woman’s beauty is determined in part by her hair, her sense of humor, and whether she can cook a tasty cassava dish, according to some community members.
Gathered in the middle of the Amazon forest, the participants in the beauty contest wear the simple brown dresses of the Ashaninka indigenous woman, their faces dotted in a traditional design with a red dye extracted from a spice called achiote.
“The little red dots are my happiness,” said Beysi Anaya, a 17-year-old who won last month’s competition after traveling three hours by car from her native valley community of Sampantuari. She was crowned with a small straw hat featuring a long red feather.
It was the fifth beauty contest held among annual festivities marking the founding of the Ashaninka community of Otari Nativo, which is in a valley near the Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro rivers in the world’s largest coca-growing region.
The Ashaninka people number in the tens of thousands and live mostly in the rainforests of Peru.
aIn this June 23, 2015 photo, Ashaninka Indian school children parade with torches during festivities celebrating the 44th anniversary of their village, in Otari Nativo, Pichari, Peru.
The village is located in a valley near the Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro rivers in the world’s largest coca growing region.
In addition to the standard Ashaninka dress, the contestants also showed off a shorter, midriff-baring summer version that can be used for swimming. Multiple strands of colored beads crisscrossed their chest like bandoliers.
Other activities included an archery competition for men and women as well as a contest for drinking the fermented juice of the cassava root.
The community’s men smoked large amounts of meat for festival-goers to eat.
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For Ashaninka men, a woman’s beauty is determined in part by her hair — the longer, the better — and whether she can cook a tasty cassava dish, said community member and translator Marishori Samaniego.
A sense of humor is also important in determining attractiveness, said psychologist Leslie Villapolo, who has worked with the Ashaninka.
via AP PHOTOS: Indigenous festival in Peruvian rainforest – Houston Chronicle.

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