Traditional Festivals in Cusco: Celebrations that Honor its Culture and Religion.
This ceremony is being held every 6th of January in Plaza de Armas in Cusco. Various choirs of the city present songs in honor of Christmas and the newborn baby Jesus. During the ceremony they proceed to the disarming of the birth, act chaired by the authorities of Cusco. The municipal company of celebrations of Cusco (EMUFEC) makes the award and the distinction to the winning exhibitors of the “Santurantikuy 2018” that takes place on December 24 every year.
This is one of the most traditional holidays of Cusco; it takes place 2 Thursdays before the main day of carnivals (sons´ godfathers) and 1 Thursday before the carnivals (sons´ godmothers) and it is characterized by the making of dolls that represent the sons´ godfathers (created by the sons´ godmothers) and the sons´ godmothers (created by the sons´ godfathers), satirizing the characters; the intention is to highlight certain qualities or weaknesses of the character without reaching disrespect. For the creation of the dolls they mainly use recycled materials, such as bottles, discarded shoes, and old clothes.
In 2019 the central day of carnivals in Peru is the 3rd of March; this holiday starts with the first rays of sunshine. Unfortunately, in this part of the world, water is used to play, accompanied by other inputs, such as: mixture, flour and paint- both men and women are engaged in a battle to see who is able to wet first or in greater proportion the person of the opposite sex. Plaza de Armas in Cusco and the Sacred Valley are some of the locations where one can observe more people participating in these holidays. On this day it is customary in Cusco to eat one of its most traditional dishes, the Timpu, or Puchero.
It is celebrated one week after the Sunday of the carnival, it consists of ending the Carnival festivities, but this time in the historic center of Cusco there are dances, exhibitions of typical dishes and music. In some places of Cusco, it is customary to play “yunza” or “cut mountains”, which consists of artificially planting a tree decorated with gifts in an open space, around which a group of participants generally known to each other begin to dance and using an ax they strike the trunk of the tree until it falls. The person who tears down the tree will be responsible with organizing the party next year.
This party marks the beginning of the celebration of the Holy Week of Cusco; 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 one can take these home and put them behind the doors as a symbol of protection for the home. Formerly, young people from Cusco were sent to the higher parts of the “Apus” sacred mountains to pick up these thorns as an act of penitence and spiritual help to Christ who died on the cross.
The Holy Week of Cusco has as a central day the Holy Monday (the day after the Sunday of Ramos), date in which the Jury Patron de Cusco, the Lord of the Earthquakes goes in processions. The image of the Lord of the Earthquakes goes out in processions on the main streets of the city of Cusco, an opportunity for the neighbors to adorn their balconies and offer their prayers; they often offer red flowers (ñucchu), which is the most traditional color for this celebration. Around 7 in the evening, the population of Cusco concentrates in Plaza de Armas to receive the traditional blessing. See here the complete history of the Lord of the Earthquakes and the complete schedule of the Holy Week of Cusco.
Place: Historical center of Cusco
This is the official beginning of the parties of Cusco, the mayor of the city (Victor Boluarte Medina) makes the official announcement and presents before the eyes of the world the program for the celebration of the festivities of Cusco; the ceremony starts by paying homage to the land, in which the highest authorities of the city take part, along with experts specialized in paying homage to “Pacha Mama” (Mother Earth). This event is attended by hundreds of spectators and is televised nationally.
This is a religious party, popular in the most traditional neighborhoods of Cusco; it consists of the veneration of the Holy Cross that is normally brought from the Apus sacred hills towards the city. During the night, the people gather to watch the cross accompanied by dances, food, songs and drinks.
This is a religious party developed in the capital of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, Urubamba. It is about a cross sacred for the population- which is adorned with elegant jewelry and fine fabrics. The main altar of the Lord of Torrechayoc is located in the neighborhood with the same name 10 minutes away from the center of Urubamba in the Sacred Valley of the Incas; during this celebration, the organized population presents dances, songs, typical dishes and fireworks.
Place: Ausangate mountain
This is one of the more traditional parties of Cusco; it was declared in 2011 Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Humanity by UNESCO. During this holiday, a pilgrimage is made from Cusco to the south; the journey will be first by car, and later it will continue on foot up to the skirt of Apu Ausangate in the Sinakara hollow. It is celebrated 58 days after Easter Sunday and it gathers at least 90000 people. The pilgrimage includes many dances and cultural expressions; it is carried out under the rules of conduct determined by the Council of Pilgrim Nations and the Brotherhood of the Lord of Qoyllurit´i.
Place: Municipality of Cusco
Every year in the month of May a Coloquium is held (Symposium/Conversation) in municipality of Cusco, event in which illustrious personalities of Cusco, Peru and the world participate; issues are discussed, such as: present, ancient Cusco, tradition and customs. The event is televised and it attracts the interest of nationals and foreigners
Today the tributary celebrations of Cusco officially start; the Municipal Company of Celebrations of Cusco (EMUFEC) is the institution in charge with organizing the ceremony which starts by giving thanks to Pacha Mama (Mother Earth), act staged in the main square of Cusco. This ceremony brings thousands of people, nationals and foreigners both. From 2018, La Entrada de los Cuatro Suyos (The 4 Nations) has been staged as well, which integrates the great Empire of the Incas, for this they count on the collaboration with some students from schools in Cusco.
Place: Main square of Cusco
Most of the institutions in Cusco, both public and private, get organized to pay tribute to Cusco; through the indigenous dances of the region, the people exhibit their costumes and show the cultural diversity that Cusco has. Among the most important parades there are: “the provincial parade”, delegations of the 13 provinces of Cusco come to the city to pay tribute. The “Educational Center Parade” is divided into 3 stages: the School Children Parade (initial, primary and secondary), the University Parade (the most important are UNSAAC and Andean) and the Parade of Superior Institutes. All these parades are performed in front of the central parade in tribute to Cusco, known as “The Civic Parade”, which is usually performed on the 23rd of June, 1 day before Inti Raymi. All institutions of Cusco take part in this parade; it starts in the morning hours and it continues until late at night. It is a holiday in the city.
Place: Main square of Cusco
It is one of the more traditional celebrations of Cusco; it is about the procession of the 15 images of Saints of the main churches of Cusco, whose members leave their temples to go out in procession to the Cathedral of Cusco. Every sacred image is carried on a platform by a group of parishioners that make up a brotherhood; each brotherhood organizes musical bands and dances that accompany the image during its whole journey. On this day it is also traditional to taste the famous “Chiri Uchu” (fried food), one of the most traditional dishes in Cusco. You can find here the complete information about this holiday: Corpus Christi in Cusco
Place: Plaza San Francisco of Cusco
The Municipal Company of Celebrations of Cusco (EMUFEC) organizes a festival in the Plaza of San Francisco where the traditional “Chiri Uchu” (fried food) is exhibited and commercialized. This holiday is unique in all Peru and it brings visitors from Peru and all over the world.
Place: Main square of Cusco
The Municipal Company of Celebrations of Cusco (EMUFEC) is in charge of organizing this event, where live music will be presented, as well as light games and which ends with fireworks. A big part of Cusco population, as well as visitors from all over the world come to Plaza de Armas to witness the show that every year is gaining strength and becoming an attraction for the general public. The show lasts about 4 hours and starts in the afternoon, ending no later than 10:00 p.m.
This is the central day of Cusco holidays, celebrated since the Inca period; it is a ceremony that has lasted over time and has remained as an inheritance for the population of Cusco. For the Andean world, the “Inti Raymi” is the most important day, it is celebrated during the winter solstice, and pays tribute to the most important deity the Incas had: “Inti” or The Sun. Find out more on the most important deity of Cusco in the following link:INTY RAIMY
MONDAY 15TH AND TUESDAY 16TH
Paucartambo is one of the 13 provinces of the department of Cusco; the holiday of Virgen del Carmen is the second most important folkloric event in Peru, after the Festival of Candelaria that is celebrated in Puno. Paucartambo is located 4 hours away from the city of Cusco- travelling by car on a dirt road; during the month of July, thousands of faithful devotees of the Virgin of Carmen (“Mamacha del Carmen”) head to Paucartambo to take part in this festivity. Find out more about the most important folkloric event in Cusco by clicking on the following link:
Place: Main square of Cusco
In 2019 Peru will celebrate 198 years of independence and Cusco is no stranger to that celebration. The main event of the independence commemoration is the Civic Military Parade, in which primary and secondary students of the schools of Cusco, the 5th mountain brigade and the main authorities of the city participate. This event is attended by the Cusqueña population and national and foreign visitors who are in the Plaza de Armas. The date of this event may vary each year, but it is celebrated before 28th of July, the central day of the independence of Peru.
Place: Regocijo square of Cusco
This is a culinary event developed and organized by the Municipal Company of Celebrations of Cusco (EMUFEC) with the collaboration of the most renowned chefs in the city; it is a homage to Peruvian cuisine, since Cusco is one of the main gastronomic destinations in Peru. The event is freely accessible to the public, and brings as visitors both nationals and foreigners. The event counts on the participation of musical groups and typical dances of the region.
This ceremony is performed by the Andean population from the first day of August and throughout the whole month. It has been carried out for many years, this being a ritual of ancestral origin. In Cusco they also perform offering ceremonies in many institutions and in the homes of the believers. Chicha de jora, coca leaf, cigars, caramels, “port” wine are offered to the land and other supplies that only the ancient Andean men know.
Place: Calca - Pisaq - Urubamba
It is celebrated in the old town of Urquillos- which is part of the district of Huayllabamba in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, surrounded by several Inca terraces and still in use. During its tour, it is accompanied by different guests and dances from the area.
Place: San Cristobal square - Cusco
This festivity is celebrated in honor of the “Patron of the Carriers”. It is accompanied by dances, musical orchestras among others. This is done in the courtyard of San Cristobal Temple, between cultural, religious, artisanal and gastronomic fairs.
Patron of the granary, also known as “Mamacha Asunta”, this party is accompanied by various dances whose choreographies in many cases are very funny. Many national and foreign tourists visit this location to be part of this great celebration.
Place: Calca - Pisac - Taray - Canchis - Tinta
Also called San Bartolome patron, it is a customary holiday where people dance and sing to the sound of bandurrias (type of mandolin) and quenas (Andean flute); it is celebrated in “distrito de tinta” (the ink district) between 22-26 of August.
It is a celebration held in honor of the patron of America and the Philipines. During this celebration, civil authorities, military, police and different institutions take part that have “Santa Rosa de Lima”, “the Patron Saint of America” as his patron saint. This is a national religious celebration that is celebrated in almost all departments of Peru, it is a national holiday and in Cusco there is a civic parade in which the police forces participate mainly.
Place: Cusco - Almudena neighborhood
This holiday starts from the 29th of August with a traditional entry called the Entry of Flowers, which is a tour from Plaza San Francisco with the direction being Temple Almudena; on the main day of the celebration one can appreciate music and folkloric dances that accompany the virgin. Almudena is one of the oldest and most traditional neighborhoods of Cusco.
Place: San Salvador - Huanca - Cusco
The Lord of Huanca is the image of martyred Chris that generates great fervor and devotion among the Catholics of Cusco and Peru. The sanctuary of the Lord of Huanca is situated in San Salvador district and every year thousands of Cusqueño pilgrims, nationals and foreigners, travel 48 km on foot with the purpose of paying tribute to this revered image.
Place: Anta - Mollepata
It is celebrated every year, in such a way that for this celebration various pilgrims come from all the communities in the province; the Lord of the Exaltation is very loved and worshipped by the inhabitants of the area and Cusqo population.
Place: Cusco - Sacsayhuaman Esplanade
It is represented by the students of Glorioso Colegio Nacional de Ciencias. It is an Andean ritual during which diverse epic texts of the Inca period are performed to which the youths of the Inca nobility were subjected for the exhibition of “waras” a sign of maturity and attitude, in order to be recognized as adult citizens. It is a festivity of military character.
Place: Cusco - San Jeronimo
It is a religious festivity that is celebrated with dance competitions, music festivals, artistic exhibitions, gastronomic fairs, in which not only the inhabitants of San Jeronimo neighborhood participate, but also others from surrounding districts of Cusco.
The “Tanta Raymi” or “Bread Holiday” is celebrated in the city of Oropesa where various craft bakers of the area take part by preparing a wide variety of loaves of bread, giving them a personal touch so that later they can exhibit them. Oropesa is famous for creating the best bread of Peru and it has been very much appreciated in the last edition of the Mistura National Fair of Gastronomy. During this holiday, different national and foreign tourists visit this town to taste the famous “chuta” bread.
The Day of the Creole Song is a very traditional holiday in Peru, especially in the north, since the creole song was created in the districts of high quarters in Lima; however, Cusco is no stranger to these celebrations, so each year this day is celebrated with different cultural activities, such as concerts and typical dances and exhibitions of typical dishes.
Place: Cusco - Tupac Amaru square
The Cusquenian Tupac Amaru II was one of the most illustrious characters in Peruvian history who aroused the indigenous rebellion that inspired many revolutionary movements around the world. Delegations of Cusco colleges as well as armed forces and the main authorities of the region take part in the ceremony; it is a formal act, during which tribute is paid, through poetry, dance and floral arrangements.
Place: Main square of Cusco
Inhabitants of different towns in Cusco travel to the city in order to market the best specimens of medicinal plants; this is an opportunity for natural medicine lovers to acquire the best healing plants of the region. If you would like to know more about the medicinal plants of Cusco and their benefits, follow this link:
Place: Main square of Cusco
The holiday of Santurantikuy, which in Spanish means “buy me a saint” is celebrated on Christmas Eve and concentrates the population of different provinces of the Andes and craftsmen of Cusco, who offer their products to the population in a well-organized fair that takes place in Plaza de Armas in Cusco. If you would like to know more about this festivity, follow this link:
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