Religious festivity that is celebrated with processions, masses and cultural events, where an atmosphere of fervor and devotion is experienced.
The festivity of the Holy Week in Cusco begins on Palm Sunday with the traditional blessing of the branches, procession and Eucharistic celebration in the Cathedral Basilica from 9 in the morning.
Unlike other commemorations, the central day of Holy Week in Cusco is Holy Monday because on that date the Patron Saint of Cusco, the Lord of the Earthquakes, goes out in procession. The Archbishop of the city offers the Communion Mass in the Cathedral, starting at 8 am. Masses are celebrated every hour until 12 noon.
On Good Friday, the main stage is the Plaza San Francisco where the Way of the Cross begins to the Cross of the Pope located in Saqsaywaman, an event organized by the Convent of San Francisco. Parallel to this, the Hampi Rantikuy or fair of medicinal plants that are sold by farmers from distant places is held in the aforementioned square, highlighting the purchase of hawthorn crosses grown naturally, these crosses are placed behind the doors of homes in Cusco to protect them from evil.
The Archaeological Capital of America and former main head of the once powerful Tahuantinsuyo Empire celebrates Holy Week by worshipping the image of the Lord of the Tremors or Taitacha Temblores, in Quechua.
According to some sources, the history of this Christ of stark features and overwhelming appearance dates back to when Emperor Charles V sent the effigy to Cusco, made especially for the Indians, copying their abrupt features. The Spaniards sought to consolidate the Conquest made by the sword and impose their worship.
But it was on May 31, 1650 when the flame of faith of the people of Cusco for the Lord of the Tremors was kindled even more. That afternoon, an earthquake struck the city, bringing down many houses and temples. It was then that a miracle occurred for many: Indians, lords, slaves and mestizos all mixed to worship and ask for protection to the Christ of the Tremors.
Since that time, the platforms of this mestizo Christ go out in procession every Holy Monday, followed by a multitude of parishioners who accompany him with humble fervor. In the windows of the houses, where the effigy passes, refined pieces of velvety upholstery with gold stripes, bright fabrics and carpets are placed, which families reserve especially for this occasion. Meanwhile, the Camaretos or small mortars, firecrackers and rockets shake the atmosphere with their roar making almost inaudible the chants and prayers of the crowd.
Holy Week in Cusco is celebrated between the second half of March to the first week of April, the date is movable.
Palm Sunday March 25th / Good Friday March 29th / Easter Sunday April 1st, 2022.
The celebration begins with "Palm Sunday", where the faithful go to the different parishes of the city carrying palm leaves and crosses woven from the same plant, which are blessed in the Eucharistic celebrations of the different temples of the city; to later take them to the houses and place them behind the doors, as a symbol of protection for the home.
The central day of Holy Week in Cusco is Holy Monday (the day after Palm Sunday) when the Patron Saint of Cusco, the Lord of the Tremors, goes out in procession.
Holy Week continues with "Holy Thursday". In the Cathedral Basilica, the Archbishop washes the feet of twelve elders, in memory of Jesus washing the feet of his apostles, while families gather to enjoy the "twelve dishes" recalling the "Last Supper". Here you can observe the mixture of Andean and western dishes, while in the Plaza San Francisco and the Central Market you can buy sweets such as crunchy maicillos, bizcochuelos, suspiros, empanadas and other delicacies of the traditional Cusquenian pastries. At night, families walk the streets and squares of the Historic Center on the route of the "Seven Temples" that recall the falls of Jesus on his way to Calvary.
On Good Friday, as in Ayacucho, there is the meeting of the platforms of Christ in the Holy Sepulcher and the Sorrowful Virgin.
That day, unlike what happens in other places, is not a day of abstinence in Cusco. The custom is to taste twelve different typical dishes ranging from various soups and stews either based on dried fish, wheat and olluco, to delicious desserts such as apple, corn or corn sweets.
Holy Week comes to an end on Easter Sunday. After the procession and the celebration of the mass, the main streets are filled with the exquisite aroma of delicacies that delight locals and strangers, such as the tasty chicken broth, empanadas, sweet white corn, tamales and cakes. Thus, in a pagan way, the Andean Holy Week closes in the millenary imperial city of Cusco.
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