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Calendar of the Holidays in Cusco

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Calendar of the Holidays in Cusco

The spirit of Cusquenian man, sculpted by art and religion, has given rise to a creative vein that arises in an infinite variety of forms, rhythms and rituals. Year after year, more than 3,000 popular parties, 1,500 musical styles and countless arts and crafts confirm that Peru and is home to one of the most varied folkloric legacies in the world.


In Cusco hundreds of festivals are celebrated, most of them are celebrated in homage to a patron saint and are part of the Christian calendar adopted in colonial times, although they have been mixed with the magical beliefs of ancient forms of worship. The holidays in Cusco such as the Holy Week, Carnival, Corpus Christi and the feast of the Lord of the Earthquakes, have a special meaning for the people of Cusco, becoming a great folkloric expression of their people.


1. Inti Raymi Festival:

It´s one of the most important holidays in Cusco, is the highest expression of the folklore of the people of Cusco occurs in the Inti Raymi (June 24). Cusco Festival of the Sun, celebrated in Saqsayhuaman's Ceremonial center, in Cusco.


Staging that expresses the harmonious ralation betwen man and nature, with the Sun, Celestial Bodies and the Moon, which were among the Incas highest divinitiues. The winter solstice marks the beginning if the new solar cycle which corresponds to a new year on the calendar. According to chronicles, the first ray of the Sun was captured with a gold disc, in order to set a Sacred Fire which would be distributed in torches to the Empire's confines. Today, the festival in Cusco starts in the Qoricancha, continuing on to the Main Square (Plaza de Armas), to fanially get to Saqsayhuamán's Main Esplanade, on a path that zigzags trough the mountain. The staging is organized by Cusco's Municipality which has preferential locations and seats that are previously sold though travel agencies.



It´s one of the most cheerful holidays in Cusco, which is celebrated during a whole week and starts on Intimate Friends. Thursday, with visits amog Intimate Girkfriends. Before the day of Carnival, the festivities are quite colorful and the communities inhabitants come down to the urban center, with youngsters andb adorned with flowers. On Sunday, games, festivals and tipycal dance contest prevail ends with popular parties. Its gastronimy is quite varied, with the Puchero, mushroom, broad bean and cheese Kapchi, along with oven baked lamb, in the Sacred Valley; Pisaq Coya, Calca, Urubamba and the whole region.


3. Easter (Holy Week)

Festivity that expresses deep religious fervor and wich is celebrated on Palm Sunday, Holy Monday, Holy Thrusday and Friday, Holy Saturday (Saturday of Glory) and Easter Sunday (Resurrection Sunday). Its gastronomy is based on the degustations of the -12 Sweet and Salted Dishes-, symbolizing the 12 apostles and which are prepared with seafood and fruit of season, as no red meat is consumed on that day, in the whole region. 


4. Corpus Christi, in the City of Cusco.

Procession of the Images (statues) of 16 Patron Saints highly venerated in the city. Musical bands and folkloric groups are part of the procession and that festivity's classsical typical dish is the Chiri Uchu (Oven baked guinea pig with sundried salted chicken, cheese, algae, sausage, fish eggs and corn omelet).


5. Festivity of the Lord of Qoyllor Rit'i

Pilgrimage of Qoyllority to the top of the snow-capped Mount Sinaqara, in the District of Ocongate, Province of Quispicanchis, Cusco. The journey is undertaken in a mass procession, with dances, muscial bands Ukukus, fireworks and the symbolic -alasitas- market (Handicraft fair of miniatures that represent the goods theb pariticipants desire and which are requested to the Apu).

This fetivity unites two traditions: The Andean and Catholic, as the Andean people celebrates the painted two apparition of Christ's image on a massive rock, at an altitude of 4,750 masl. On the nearby snow-covered mountain tops, the natives practice ancestral rites, such as worshipping the Apu Ausangate; Cusco's Tutelary Mountain Spirit. The pilgrimage is the only example that subsists in the region, of Andean resistance and ideology of the Incario (Incan myth and ptophesy) and from there, another pilgrimage starts to Tayancani, with the participation of the Nations, in the vicinity of Sinaqara.




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