Festivities of Cusco
The best, the only way to get to know a city that lives in celebration like Cusco is to understand the deep meaning of its celebrations. The range of festivities proposed to the traveler is almost infinite. Moreover, the main ceremonies are those that establish the great moments. Certainly, Cusco is no stranger to national celebrations such as the Fiestas Patrias, but none of them can match the capacity of its regional festivals.
Ritual fight between the inhabitants of the communities of Checa and Quehue, in the district of Yanaoca, province of Canas. They face each other in a war game to promote the fertility of the land. The winning community is the one that occupies the most land. The men are armed with slingshots, leather whips and sticks, and wear vests adorned with flowers. The women help by taking care of the horses and collecting stones, and they encourage the men by singing.
Celebration in the different towns of the Sacred Valley of the Incas and Cusco where people dance to the rhythm of the Huayno.
Date: Second half of March to first week of April (Variable date)
Holy Monday: Procession of the Lord of the Tremors, Sworn Patron Saint of Cusco and blessing of the city. Since 1650 when, according to the devotees, a canvas of the Christ of the Good Death stopped a strong earthquake that shook the city of Cusco, the inhabitants worship the image of the "Taytacha de los Temblores". This celebration allows to clearly appreciate the fusion of Andean and Christian religions. The crowd in the Plaza de Armas of Cusco is impressive.
Good Friday: Procession of the Holy Sepulcher and the Sorrowful Virgin through the Plaza de Armas and the central streets of the city. Good Friday: Procession of the Holy Sepulcher and the Sorrowful Virgin through the Plaza de Armas and the central streets of the city.
The Cruz Velacuy festival is the day of the catholic crosses in Cusco and in almost all Andean towns. It is celebrated to worship the hundreds of crosses that exist in the city. This feast originates in the first decades of the eighteenth century, when it was a relatively humble private or family festivity without the magnificence it has today.
Festividad del Señor de Qoyllur Ritti
Location: Province of Quispicanchis, district of Ocongate. Mountain of Sinakhara. It is the feast of the Lord of the Ice. A rite whose external symbol is the image of Christ, but its object is the integration of man with nature. It consists of a multitudinous pilgrimage to the summit of the snowy Ocongate. It gathers more than 20,000 faithful in a first walk of 8 km.
This festival combines two traditions - the Andean and the Catholic, as it celebrates the appearance of the image of Christ on a massive rock at 4750 meters above sea level and at the same time the cult of the Apu Ocongate. There are dance groups from the region and other regions, where pre-Hispanic and Christian customs are mixed. On the way back, there is another longer walk, where rites such as the worship of the Apu Ausangate and the lord of Qoyllur Ritt'i can be appreciated. It is considered one of the most important treks in America and lasts three days. Minimum temperatures of -4 °C are reached. The walk is accompanied by a procession, dances, music bands, fireworks and the symbolic market of the Alacitas (miniature handicrafts fair).
It is the jubilee month of Cusco and there are celebrations almost every day. The main day is June 24
Señor de Torrechayoq
Province of Urubamba. The origins of this celebration date back to 1867 when a cross of enormous dimensions was built and placed in the snow and a mass was celebrated for the inauguration of a section of the Urubamba - Lares highway. Years later it was taken to the "Ch`ynaqasa" pass, and from then on a sanctuary was built in the city of Urubamba, where it is worshipped. In addition to the mass, the cross is taken out in procession with all its jewels. The celebrations include fireworks, parade of dances, bullfights and cockfights.
Date Variable after Holy Thursday)
Location: Province of Cusco, district of Cusco.
Religious festivity celebrated in the Plaza de Armas of Cusco. In it, 16 images or saints from the 14 parishes or churches of the city participate in procession. Previously, an enormous float covered entirely in silver travels through the streets. A combination of Andean and Catholic rites is observed, the platforms and images are full of pomp and splurge, which are shown in processions of Virgins and Saints from almost all the parishes. Bands of musicians and folkloric groups are part of the processions.
The typical and classic dish of this festivity is the "Chiri Uchu".
Date: June 24
Location: Province of Cusco, district of Cusco.
Staging of an ancestral rite that represents the harmonious relationship of man and the cosmic manifestations with the Sun. The festival begins in the Qorikancha, and is held on the winter solstice, then continues in the Plaza de Armas and most of it is performed in the esplanade of Saqsayhuaman, where a white or black flame is sacrificed as an offering to the Sun God. It is also considered the most important day of the city since it coincides with the festivities of Cusco. Scenification that expresses the harmonious relationship of man with the Sun God, maximum divinity of the Incas. It takes place in the winter solstice.
Month of the anniversary of the national independence celebrated on July 28th.
Festividad de la Virgen del Carmen
Location: Province of Paucartambo
Known as the festival of "Mamacha Carmen", it is a deeply rooted religious celebration, where joy and pompousness are lavished. We recommend visiting the natural balcony of Tres Cruces, because from there you can see the unique and fantastic sunrise.
The Virgen del Carmen is commemorated, not only with a procession, but also with music and dances. The Paucartambo festival is considered the best folkloric demonstration of the region and has been declared a National Cultural Heritage.
The Festivity of the Virgen del Carmen in the town of Pisac, Province of Calca, is also worth mentioning.
Ofrenda a la Pachamama
Date: Early morning of August 1st - All of August
It is an offering to mother earth as thanksgiving for what has been received during the year. It is an ancient Andean custom of meeting with the Apus or sacred mountains that is led by a Paq'o or Shaman who prepares the despacho or gift to the earth and the sacred Coca leaf in an ancestral ritual of spiritual connection.
Festividad del Serño de Huanca
Date: September 14
Province of Calca, district of San Salvador
The history of the Lord of Huanca begins in 1675 when it is said that Jesus Christ appeared in a cave before the Indian Diego Quispe, his vivid story inspired one of the best painters of the time to represent the image on the rock. The cult (recognized in 1779) has its central day on September 14 and devotees arrive there from remote places of Peru and Bolivia, to cure their afflictions of body and soul.
Date: November 01 and 02
Baptisms of "wawas" of bread, gastronomic specialties such as suckling pig, tamales, stews and others.
Pilgrimage to the cemeteries organized and carried out by the population of Cusco in general. Offerings to the dead in the cemetery, edible offerings in the temples, solemn masses.
Date: December 24
This event is celebrated since the arrival of the Spaniards to the city of Cusco, is an occasion where images of worked clay are acquired, to "assemble" Christmas nativity scenes in every home.
It is currently the oldest, largest and highest quality popular art fair in Peru, bringing together exponents of craftsmanship in different genres, such as goldsmithing, embroidery, basketry, carving, choreoplasty, pottery, toys, among others. As in ancient times, it is held on the perimeter of the Plaza de Armas of Cusco.