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Portada / Festivities & Events / March - April / Holy Week In Cusco

Holy Week In Cusco

Holy Week in Cusco is a celebration full of tradition and devotion. Discover here how Cusco celebrates Holy Week.
The Lord of the Earthquakes is carried in procession on Holy Monday.

Holy Week in Cusco is an unparalleled experience that offers visitors a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the rich culture and religious traditions of the region. From Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, the city transforms into a vibrant stage of fervor and devotion.

How is it Celebrated in Cusco?

Holy Week in Cusco is a period of religious and cultural festivity, typically celebrated between March and mid-April, although it varies as it depends on the lunar calendar.

Palm Sunday

The festivities begin with “Palm Sunday” where all devotees attend different churches in the city with crosses woven from palm leaves, which are blessed during mass. These crosses are placed in each home as a symbol of protection.

Holy Week, Palm Sunday. Source: CuscoPeru.com
Palm Sunday in Cusco

Holy Monday

Holy Monday in Cusco centers around the procession of the city's patron, the Lord of the Earthquakes. On this day, the devout population of Cusco accompanies the procession, seeking blessings.

Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday is one of the most important days of Holy Week in Cusco. This day commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus with his disciples.

On this day, Cusco families prepare the traditional 12 dishes, which represent the 12 apostles. Common dishes include corn cream or corn lawa, lisa fish soup, shrimp soup, and seafood rice. Typical desserts include stewed fruit, usually peach or loquats, rice pudding, mazamorra, empanadas, maicillos, and other traditional desserts.

In the evenings, families often visit the streets of the historic center of Cusco, touring the 7 churches, symbolizing the 7 falls Jesus endured on his way to Mount Calvary.

Good Friday

Good Friday is the day that commemorates the crucifixion and death of Jesus. In the city of Cusco, the enactment of the Way of the Cross begins at San Francisco Square and continues to the Pope's Cross located in Saqsayhuaman, organized by the Convent of San Francisco.

At the same time, in San Francisco Square, the Hampi Rantikuy takes place, a fair where various types of medicinal plants are sold, with the tradition indicating that all plants gathered during Holy Week are blessed.

Easter Sunday

Holy Week concludes on Easter Sunday. Devout Cusqueños attend mass early to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. On this day, the image of the Risen Jesus is also processed, accompanied by parishioners who display their joy.

The Lord of the Earthquakes

The Lord of the Earthquakes, a venerated figure in Cusco since colonial times. Its history dates back to the 16th century, when the miraculous image was brought to the city to protect it from earthquakes. Since then, the Lord of the Earthquakes has been a focus of great devotion among the people of Cusco, who consider him their patron and protector.

The story recounts that Emperor Charles V sent the image to Cusco, specifically crafted for the residents of the city, copying their features to foster a stronger attachment to the image. This was intended to consolidate the Spanish conquest over the Inca capital.

However, it was on May 31, 1650, that the faith of the Cusco people greatly increased. That afternoon, an earthquake struck the city, demolishing houses and religious temples. At this moment, the entire population; Indigenous peoples, lords, slaves, and mestizos, united in prayer for the tremors to cease.

Since this event, the Lord of the Earthquakes has been processed every Holy Monday, traveling through the streets of the city of Cusco, followed by a multitude of devout followers who accompany by chants and prayers hoping to receive his blessing.

The procession of the Lord of the Earthquakes is one of the most important events of Holy Week in Cusco and attracts visitors from around the world. It is a unique experience that allows tourists to immerse themselves in the rich culture and religious traditions of the region.

Lord of the Earthquakes.  Source: CuscoPeru.com
Lord of the Earthquakes

Recommendations for Attendees

  • Secure homes with alarms or entrust their care to neighbors.
  • Do not carry wallets, purses, jewelry, money, or other valuables to the procession.
  • Carry umbrellas or plastic ponchos.
  • If attending with minors, place a card with their personal information and phone numbers in their pocket, and instruct them that if they get lost, they should seek help from the National Police or Auxiliary Forces (Firefighters, Serenazgo, Municipal Police).
  • Coordinate with family members a meeting place for after the procession ends.
  • Place trash in plastic bags and deposit them in containers or bins.
  • Use public or private restrooms for sanitary needs, NOT in public areas.
  • Locate emergency exits and safety zones.
  • After the procession ends, wait in a safe place until the exit routes are less congested, so you can move about calmly.
  • In case of emergencies, obey the instructions of the brigadiers and members of the Police and Auxiliary Forces.

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