There are 15 saints that with processions each leaves their usual temple or church to make a visit to the Plaza Mayor of Cusco and then enter the Cathedral Basilica, where they will remain for 8 days until the "Octave" arrives, day in which the saints are taken out and taken to their temple or church of origin.
The night of the concentration becomes a vigil in which the dish that is served in this festival is the "chiriuchu" dish made from guinea pig and chicken, also shared the vigil with beer, chicha and cornbread.
The procession on the main day takes place around 11:00 am The Plaza de Armas. It is full of people who come to see the procession of the five virgins as La Virgen de la Almudena, La Virgen de Belén, La Linda, Santa Barbara, Immaculate Virgin, adorned with an impressive array of jewels and luxurious brocades and the saints San Sebastian, San Cristóbal, San Geronimo, San Blas, St. Joseph and St. James on his beautiful white horse.
Corpus Christi in Cusco
This holiday will be held on Thursday, the 31st of the month of May. The date is always movable, like the festival of the Lord of Quyllurit´I; everything will depend on the Holy Week. Quyllurit´I is 58 days after Easter Sunday; in the case of Corpus Christi, it is 9 weeks after Holy Thursday (Holy Week). Cusqueños and foreigners are waiting to celebrate this holiday as they should.
The beginning of this festivity is on Wednesday (one day before the procession or main day), with the departure of each saint from his temple of origin. Each one moves with a procession where the “mayordomos” (butlers) or “Carguyoq” can be found, as well as the mayor, and the faithful who voluntarily decide to accompany their saint, together with a band of musicians or “Q´aperos”.
After arriving at the main plaza in Cusco, the statues of the saints are taken to the Cathedral and remain inside until the next day, when the procession takes place. On Thursday, all these people take their saint or virgin out of the Basilica of the Cathedral and the procession begins. The Main Plaza is filled with people. The order in which the saints come out is as follows:
- 1. San Antonio from the parish of San Cristobal
- 2. San Jerónimo from the parish of San Jerónimo distrit
- 3. San Cristóbal from the parish of San Cristóbal
- 4. San Sebastián from the parish of San Sebastián distrit
- 5. Santa Bárbara from the parish of Poroy
- 6. Santa Ana from the parish of Santa Ana
- 7. Santiago Apóstol from the parish of Santiago
- 8. San Blas from the parish of San Blas
- 9. San Pedro from the parish of San Pedro
- 10. San José from the parish of Belén
- 11. Virgen de la Natividad from the parish of Almudena
- 12. Virgen de los Remedios from the parish of Santa Catalina
- 13. Virgen Purificada from the parish of San Pedro
- 14. Virgen de Belén from the parish of Belén
- 15. Virgen de la Inmaculada Concepción sldo called "La Linda" of Cathedral
After the procession, the saints return to the cathedral to salute and after seven days (the eighth), the saints participate in a procession again before returning to their home temples where they will the rest of the year, they take a walk through the streets of Cusco in the middle of songs and prayers. For the tourist is an excellent opportunity to experience the traditional Peruvian culture closely.
During the procession, some carguyocs give gifts to the assistants; objects like postcards, souvenirs are distributed without any distinction. The procession ends at approximately 12 at noon, after all the saints return to the Cathedral, where they will remain until the following Thursday, when the faithful, the carguyoc, mayor and others return their saints to their place of origin, the temple from which they were brought. The traditional dish of this festivity is Chiriuchu, an exquisite cold and spicy dish for all the discerning palates. A mixture of 10 ingredients, such as: roasted guinea pig (it must be taken into account that the meat of this rodent must be tender, so that when someone consumes it, it is soft, as this way the characteristic flavor is preserved), cau cau (fish egg), boiled hen, Cecina, Qochayuyo (seaweed), white corn, cheese, rocoto in slices and the typical torreja. This torreja, of spongy consistency, is the combination of some ingredients such as: corn, squash and a little chicken broth during the preparation, so that it has a characteristic flavor at the time of serving.
Map of Origin of the 15 Saints - Corpus Christi
The celebration of Corpus Christi is held in the Plaza de Armas of Cusco.
Formerly, during the Inca period, the Incas took their sacred mummies in processions around the Huakaypata (the Main Square of Cusco). Ceremonial rites were performed to pay homage to the mummies (1 for each Inca, a total of 14 Incas). When the Spaniards arrived, around the year 1542, they wanted to impose their customs and festivities. It was then that the religious and mystical syncretism was realized and statues of virgins and saints dressed in costumes usually donated by the butler or carguyoq started to be taken out.
A camera is indispensable:
We would all like to take the 15 saints home, for all the art that lives in each of them. But, no, it´s impossible! So the only thing we have left is photography. Thus we can take great photos to show our friends and family what happens in Cusco. Each photo will make each and every one of our experiences live forever.
Wear light clothing:
These days the sun is strong in the morning, and when the afternoon comes everything changes, the strong winds begin and this will make us tremble and we can even get sick with a cold, the flu and so on.
Consume cold drinks, snacks which are easy to carry:
Being hydrated and always well-fed is necessary. As strong as the sun is, it is possible for us to become dehydrated. That is why it is recommended to take these foods so as not to succumb to dizziness or fainting during the day.
Walking shoes or sneakers:
Feeling comfortable is paramount. In general the streets of Cusco are made of stone and when they get wet they are slippery. Trekking shoes are comfortable and perfect for all types of terrain. Wearing a couple of these will do a lot of good.
5. Use and bring sunblock, sunglasses, hat and/or umbrella:
We are in a time when it´s not news to anyone that solar radiation is becoming stronger. When you know you are going to be outdoors for a long time, you should take precautions. Our health being taken care of, we will enjoy more of this party.
Be aware of your personal items:
Many people are accustomed to carry their backpack on their back; this way we do not realize if someone out there is taking something from it. This is why it is preferable to put the backpack on the opposite side, that is, on your chest, in order to avoid unpleasant situations and theft. It is always recommended to carry enough money to make the necessary purchases. There may be bad people anywhere, that can´t be changed, but we can try to avoid certain experiences. It is always a good idea to try to prevent bad experiences.
It is better to use the local currency (sol):
Many of the merchants who are in Plaza de Armas or San Francisco Plaza, where the Chiriuchu fair is always held, use the local currency. To make transactions easier, it is recommended to take soles. It is more tedious to have to go to an exchange bureau and queue to change foreign currencies. Preferably do so ahead of time.
Ready for the rain:
The weather in Cusco is sometimes unpredictable, and you never know when the rain will fall. But the Corpus Christy takes place during the dry season when it rarely rains; the rain is beautiful when it does not fall hard. There´s nothing more pleasant than walking in the rain, but always dressed in warm clothes, so as not to get the cold, flu or other illnesses.