PERU FESTIVALS



These remarkable events will help to make your trip to the land of the Incas an even more memorable experience !!!

Carnival
Easter - Holly Week
Cruz Velacuy
Qoyllurrit’i
Corpus Christy Procession
Inti Raymi (The Festival of the Sun - Cuzco)
Virgen del Carmen (Religious Traditional Festival in Paucartambo)
Yawar Fiesta (Traditional Bullfight in Cotabambas)
Santuranticuy Fair (Christmas Fair in Cusco)

 

CARNIVAL ( Festival in Cusco and The Sacred Valley of the Incas)

(February 14th 2010)
This traditional festivity is characterised by the rich variety of dances, the remarkable costumes, such as the yunzas (decorated trees) and the profusion of water fights and general merrymaking. In the Sacred Valley of the Incas many typical festivals are held in the afternoon of Carnival Sunday, most notably in the villages of Coya and Calca.
The celebration of carnival in the Andes is also an opportunity for the first romantic adventures of the young people of the Peruvian highlands.


 



EASTER (Religious Procession in Cusco)
(Easter: March 28th to April 4th 2010 - Holy monday: March 29th 2010)
This Catholic religious celebration is held for an entire week, during which the most important day and the most significant in religious terms is Monday, when the faith of the local populace is expressed with profound devotion, for this is the day the image of the Lord of Earthquakes is taken from the cathedral and carried in procession through the streets of Cusco. This image of Christ is the city’s patron and its most important religious icon.
On Monday many masses are held throughout the morning in honour of the Lord of the Earthquakes, and at around seven in the evening more than one hundred thousand people congregate in the Main Square to receive the blessing which the image will impart to the faithful, while the sirens of the local fire service announce the return of the image to the cathedral, as the huge crowd looks on in silence.


 



CRUZ VELACUY (The Day Of The Crosses - Cusco)
(May 3rd each year)
Each year the night of May 2nd is when all the crosses around Cusco are the subjects of a vigil. This festival honours the sacred cross upon which Christ is said to have died to redeem the world. The crosses on all the plazas and the hilltops throughout the city are richly adorned with new shrouds, flowers and wreaths, and dozens of candles are placed beneath them to burn all night. Meanwhile, dancers and bands of musicians bring a touch of joy to the veneration of the crosses.


 



QOYLLUR RIT'I
(May 28th 2013)
This celebration is held in the highlands southeast of Cusco at around 15,510 feet above sea level (4,700 metres) on the slopes of Mount Shinakara, where a church has been built around the altar dedicated to the Lord of Qoyllur Rit'i. This altar is in fact a great rock which bears the image of Christ. Each year thousands of pilgrims arrive from throughout the Cusco region in the belief that this image possesses miraculous powers. This celebration also features the ancient Pre-Columbian tradition of the ukuku’s dancers who represent a mythical half man, half bear figure and who climb the Shinakara glacier in the early hours before dawn, returning to the church in the morning with great chunks of ice as a sign of their penitence.

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CORPUS CHRISTI
(May 30th 2013)
This is perhaps the most important religious festivity in the city of Cusco, and its central event is an impressive procession involving all the images of virgins and saints from the city’s many churches. These images are all dressed in fine new robes and carried around the main square on great wooden litters covered in silver and decorated with hundreds of flowers, while pilgrims follow them and bands of musicians and dancers accompany them.


 



INTI RAYMI (The Festival of the Sun - Cusco)
(June 24th each year)
This was the most important and lavish annual celebration of the Inca civilization, dedicated to the Sun, who was the principal god of the Incas and the creator of the world and the predecessor of both humankind and the entire universe.
It was believed that the sun should be worshipped and be the recipient of offerings during its long journey through space, so that rather than abandoning the Earth and all its children it would return each day to give them its light, warmth and joy.
Today Inti Raymi is held every June 24th at the archaeological complex of Saqsayhuaman. These days, of course, animals are no longer sacrificed.

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VIRGEN DEL CARMEN (Festival in Paucartambo)
(July 15th to 18th each year)
Paucartambo is known as the folkloric capital of the Andes. In this small colonial town situated about three hours from Cusco, a beautiful fiesta is held which is the most lavish and spectacular annual celebration in the entire Cusco region. The festivities last for four days and are held in honour of the patron saint of the village, the Virgin of Carmen, who is affectionately known by the villagers as the Mamacha Carmen. Huge numbers of dancers, bands of musicians and pilgrims come to the festival to enjoy the wild celebrations, as well as the solemnity of the religious aspect of the occasion.

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YAWAR FIESTA (Bullfight in Cotabambas)
(July 28th and December 8th each year)
Once a year descendants of the Inkas head up to the highest mountains of the Andes of Peru to catch a Condor, which is the most important part of celebrating the Yawar Fiesta, or the Festival of Blood. This festival is celebrated on the Independence Day of the Republic of Peru and demonstrates the social relations between Indians and whites that took place in the Peruvian highlands during the Colonial period. The Condor, representing the Incas, will overpower a bull which is the symbol of the Castilian conquistadors who brought a gruesome end to the mighty empire of the Incas.
These bullfights are held in the middle of the populous village square with courageous men jumping out of the crowds and waving their ponchos to attract the bulls. They never ever... kill the bulls...!!!
This Andean Peruvian tradition is described in the novel Yawar Fiesta by José María Arguedas.

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SANTURANTICUY FAIR (Christmas Fair in Cusco)
(December 24th each year)
This is a wonderful celebration of the popular folkloric art produced by Cusco’s traditional artisans. From very early in the morning these craftspeople set up their stalls in the city’s Main Square to sell their traditional products. The people of the city come in large numbers to browse or to shop, with many of them buying decorations for the nativity scenes they will display in their homes during the Christmas period.