HOLY WEEK IN CUSCO 2018
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Easter in Cusco is held between the last week of March and the first week of April, the date can be different each year. This year calendar is:
Domingo de Ramos -March 25 / Lunes Santo –March 26 /Viernes Santo -March 29 / Domingo de Resurrección April 01, 2018.
On Domingo de Ramos, the traditional blessing of palms, a procession and a Eucharistic celebration are held at the Cathedral from 9 in the morning.
Unlike others Easter ceremonies, in Cusco, their central day are on Monday, “Lunes Santo”, because on that date the main 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 Viernes Santo, the main stage is Plaza San Francisco, where the Via Crucis begins until the Pope's Cross located in Saqsaywaman, an event organized by the Convent of San Francisco. Parallel in the aforementioned plaza is held the Hampi Rantikuy or fair of medicinal plants that are sold by farmers from faraway places, Also the purchase of crosses naturally grown hawthorn, these crosses are placed behind the doors of Cusqueños homes to protect them from all evil.
Easter celebration begins with "Domingo de Ramos", where the faithful attend the different parishes of the city carrying palm leaves and woven crosses of the same plant, which are blessed in the Eucharistic celebrations of the different temples of the city. Later they take the crosses home and place them behind the doors, as a symbol of protection for the home.
Easter in Cusco has as central day Lunes Santo (the day after Domingo de Ramos) on this date people celebrate the main saint of Cusco, the Lord of the Earthquakes.
The once Capital City of the mighty Empire of Incas, celebrates Easter by paying homage to the image of the Lord of the Earthquakes or Taitacha (earthquakes, in Quechua)
According to some sources, the history of this Christ of strong features and overwhelming appearance dates back when the Emperor Charles V sent the effigy to Cusco, made especially for the Indians, copying the sharp features of these. The Spanishs looked for consolidate the conquest by the sword and by imposing their worship.
But it was May 31, 1650, when faith of Cuzco people was ignited even more. That afternoon, an earthquake hit the city, bringing down many houses and temples. Then Indians, lords, slaves and mestizos all mixed adored and asked for shelter to the Christ of the Earthquakes.
Since that time, followers of this mestizo Christ come in procession every lunes Santo, followed by a crowd of parishioners who go with him.
Easter continues with Jueves Santo. In the Basilica of the Cathedral, the Archbishop washes the feet of twelve elders, in memory of the washing of Jesus' feet to his apostles, while the families gather to enjoy the "twelve dishes" remembering the "Last Supper". Here you can see the mix of dishes from the Andean and Western cuisine, while in the Plaza San Francisco and the Mercado Central you can buy sweets such as crispy maicillos, sponge cakes, sighs, empanadas and other delicacies from the traditional Cusquenian pastry. At night, the families walk through 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 Viernes Santo, unlike what happens in other places, is not abstinence in Cusco. They use to taste twelve different typical dishes that range from varied soups and stews, whether based on dried fish, wheat and olluco, to delicious desserts such as apple, corn or corn sweets.
Easter comes to an end on Easter Sunday. After the procession and the celebration of the mass, through the main streets you can perceive the exquisite aroma of the delicacies that delight both locals and strangers, such as the tasty chicken broth, the empanadas, the sweet of white corn, the tamales and the cakes Thus, in a pagan way, the Andean Easter closes in the millenary imperial city of Cusco.
• Secure the homes with alarms or entrust their care to the neighbors.
• Do not carry purses, wallets, jewelry, money and valuables to the Procession.
• Bring umbrellas or plastic ponchos.
• If you go with childrens, you should put a card with your personal data and phone numbers in your pocket, and explain that if you lose you should ask for help from the National Police or the Auxiliary Forces (Fire, Serenazgo, Municipal Police).
• Coordinate with your family a meeting place for when the Procession ends.
• Place garbage in plastic bags and deposit them in containers.
• Use public or private Hygienic Services, DO NOT use public spaces.
• Locate the Emergency Exits and Security Zones.
• At the end of the Procession, wait in a safe place until the exit routes are clear, so you can move around peacefully.
• In case of emergencies, the instructions of the Brigadistas and the members of the Police and Auxiliary Forces must be obeyed.