Cusco celebrates hundreds of festivals, 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 celebration of 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.
The highest expression of the folklore of the people of Cusco occurs in the Inti Raymi (June 24).
Passing on of the Mayor's Cane
Andean ceremony in which the comunal authorities or "Varayoq" and their successors do the passing on of the leader ship after having fulfilled one year of ruling. At the end, provinces and the whole region.
Ch'iriaje Festivity in the Community of Checa.
Ritual fighting among the inhabitants of the communities of Checa and Quechue, in the Province of Canas, Cusco who confort each other in a war-like game, in order to propitiale the earth's fertility. The winning community is that which occupies the grater quantity of terrain. The men, armed wich slingshots, leather whip and the women help, taking care of the horses, recollecting stones and encouraging the men with songs.
Toqto's figts "Festivity, in Toctopata"
These festivities occur in a place called Tocto, located between the districts of Yanaoca and Livitaca, in the Province of Chumbivilcas, Cusco. They last three days during which the fights to gain more farming land, is evoked. On the first day, the participants get serrled on the site. On the second day, individual fights start and then, groups of five and up to ten people gather together and after having eaten and drunk, the third day, during which they pick their casualties up and perform the Chaswa (circle dances in which losers and winners celebrate).
Festivity dedicated to the Purified Virgin of Canikunka, which lasts 8 days, in the locality of Urcos, where a handicraft, agricultural and commercial fair is organized, with special gastronomy in which trout based dishes stand out, in the district of Huaro, province of Quispicanchis; Saya/Cusco.
This religious festivity is characterized by its native folklore, in the community of Ttio, Quispicanchis, with bullfighting. It is also celebrated in other district and provinces such as Yanacoa, Canas, Yauri, Espinar, Pisaq, Ttio and Quispicanchis.
Nationakl day of the Pisco Sour.
Tasting of the Pisco Sour in restaurants and hotels. Pisco Sour festival organized by the Tourism Superior Education Centers, in districts, provinces and on a national level.
General festivity in the region, 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.
Las Week-end Of March:
Staging of the ancestral ritual of the Corn Feast, with dance festival, fresh com based gastronomy and while corn production contest, in Huaro, Quispicanchis.
First Monday of April
Precession of the "Señor de los Temblores" (lord of the earthquakes); the "Taytacha" (Little Father) or "Cusco's sworn Patron". An impressive image (statue) of Christ crucified is accompanied by the region's authorities and personalities. The Catholics, in multitude, assit to the benediction on the Main Square (Plaza de Armas), in the Cusquenians' major demostration of faith, in the district and Province of Cusco.
April From 2 to 8:
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.
May 2: Holy Cross.
Veneration to the crosses in the old neighborhoods and in special places, with a watch during the Vespers night, meanwhile hot punch is being served to the ehythm of melodies played by musicians with violin, harp, quenas (Andean Flutes) and bands. On the following day, solenm masses are celebrated, along with processions of the crosses, with dancers and traditional groups, in the District and Province of Cusco.
May 15 (Mobiledate):
Festivity for the Lord of Torrechayoc, In Urubamba
That festivity's origins date back to 1860, when an enormous cross was set in the snow and a mass was celebrated for the inauguration of a section of the Urubamba Lares read. Years later, that cross was taken to the town of Urubamba, in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, Cusco, where it is worshipped and addition to the mass, the cross is taken on a preocession with all of its jewels. Celebrations include fireworks, dance parade, bull and bladre cockfighting, foal taming and tipycal gastronomy, in the District and Province of Urubamba.
San Isidro Labrador.
The farmers Patron is celebrated in the Distric of Santiago, in Cusco, as well as in the Province of Calca. Farmers come out to the squares, with oxen and plows previously adorned, to start festivities, in Santiago, cusco, Canchis and Calca.
June 1 to 30:
Cusco's Festivities, in the City of cusco.
Impressive dance contesr executed by students of all schooling levels, music festivals, art exposition, gastronomic fair and festivities, on Cusco's Main square (Plaza de Armas).
Corpus Christi, in the City of Cusco (Mobile date).
Preocession 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" (Cuy asado or oven baked guinea pig with sundried salted chicken, cheese, algae, sausage, fish eggs and corn omelet).
Worldwide Enviroment Day.
Street parade of allegories referring to the enviroment's preservation and conservation, with the participation of students of all shollong levels, workshops, campaingns are organized, in the istric and Province of Cusco.
June 5 and 6 (Mobiledate):
Pilgrimage 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 MAMSL. 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.
Second Sunday of June : Machu Pitumarka Festival.
Folkloric presentation that gathers exponents of the area, in singing, native music and dances, in which one can apreciate the variety and colorfulness of the clothes, as well as te use of native musical instruments. In Pitumarka, Canchis.
Second Snday Of June:
Q'eswachaca Hanging Bridge.
110 km. Southwest of the city of Cusco, lies the localy of Combapata, in the Province of Canas, Cusco, from which 31km. Must be covered to get to the 33m. long and 1.2 m. wide Hanging Bridge from which it is possible to appreciate the Apurimac River Canyon in its full splendor. Each year, on the second Sunday of June, the bridge is woven and strengthened during three days, by hundreds of community members who use "ichu" straw and braided "Chachacomo" fiber. This task of pre-incan origin, uses traditional techniques within thw frame of ritual ceremonies and dances performed by the inhabitants of the area's "Ayllus". The repairs on the bridge end on the fourth day, giving way songs and dances.
Second Sunday of June:
This festival gathers exponents of the folklore of the provinces of Espinar and Chumbivilcas, as well as of other areas, like a display of music, singing, along with pastoral and warrior dances, in Yauri, Espinar.
June17 (Mobile date):
Raqchi's Folkloric Festival.
It gathers the qualified participats of different communities folkloric festivals, such as that of Pitumarka, Canamarka, Queswachaca and others, it takes place in the immediate surroundings of Raqchi's archaeological complex, in San Pedro, Canchis.
June 18 (Mobile Date):
Evocation of Cusco's Incan Foundation by The Ayar Brothers.
It is an artistic and theatrical presentation that commemorates the foundation of Cusco, in Incan Times, with a program of dances, music and staging, on a historical site, in Pacarectambo, Paruro.
June (Mobile date):
Huancaro's Agricultural, Industrial and Handicraft Fair.
This fair is organized in homage to Cusco and to the Farmer's Day, with expsition and sale of the region's agricultural product, contests of cattle, sheep, Andean cameloids and smaller animals, artistic preserntation of folkloric music, rock and dance contests, gatronomy festival, handicraft fair, bull fighting coliseum and cnckfighting, in Cusco.
This festivity is of great importance in the Andean calendar and the rural areas inhabitants give thaks to their Tutelary "Apus", with offerings to the Pacha Mama (Mother Earth), asking for protection and prosperity in cattle breeding and fertility of the land. It starts on June 23, at night, in the whole region.
The Inti Raymi, 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 whichwould be distributed in torches to the Empire's confines. Today, the Inti Raymi ceremony 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.
July 15,16 and 17:
Festivity of Our Lady of the Carmen.
In Paucartambo, as well as in other villlages of the region the Virgin of the Carmen is commemorated, not only with a procession, but also with music and dances. Festivities in Paucartambo, Pisaq and Huarocondo are considered as the best in the region, as far as folkloric display is concerned. On those dates, a great quantily of pilgrims go to Ahanacu's Natural Balcony, to wait from a strategic location, for the most impressive sinrise in Peru; a spectacle not to miss (If weather conditions allow).
Corpus Christi in Santiago, Santa Ana and San Cristobal
Festivity in the traditional neighborhoods of Santiago, Santa Ana and San Cristobal that display in the Vespers of the day, fireworks, serenades with bands of musicians and on the central day of Corpus Chriti, a festivity mass is celebrated and a procession takes place, followed by popular celebration. The gastronomy is based on the degustation of "Chiri Uchu" (Dish based o cold meat, chicken, guinea pig, potatoes, etc.), "Chicha de Jora" (Fermented corn drink), oven baked guinea pig and "Frutillada" (Fermented wild strawberry drink), in the District and province of Cusco.
July 24 and 25:
Celebration of the anniversary of the Province of la Convención, whose capital city is Quillabamba, Cusco. Each year, during that week, Miss Quillabamba is elected and cockfighting championships and motocross competitions are organized, as well as Cocla's fair (Coffee producing coop), during which a musical festival is being presented with well-known artists, but it is attractive to explorers who seek originality in their travels.
July 28 and 29
Independance Day Celebration:
Protocolar, political and military ceremonias throughout the country. Great military, scholastic and parades are organized as well as music festivals and fairs with Peruvian products. These dates are also declated as National Holiday, in order to promete internal tourism.
Celebration of Mother Earth's day, in Cusco
The following festivals take place in that celebration: "Pacha Mama Raymi" in the Distric of Ccatca; "Wataqallary", in the Distric of Maras and "Kintu Raymi", in the village of Huasao, in Oropesa, Cusco. It is an Andean rite in which homages is given to the "Pacha Mama" (Mother Earth), in a special offering and worshiping ceremony called "Offering to the Earth", with coca leaves, fermented corn "Chicha", corn and seeds sheep wool and fat, sweets, incense and symbolic figures of gold and silver, This ritual marks the beginging of the Andean agricultural new year.
Pacha Mama Raymi:
Andean ritual lead by a traditional Pampamisayoq or Altomisayoq Priest who is characterized as a live vestige of the Andean ideology. At the end of the ceremony, starts a folkloric presentation, in the Distric of Ccatca, Province of Quispicanchis, Cusco.
First Saturday Of August:
Event of the historical resistance of the synthesized Andean cosmivision. It is gathering of traditional priests and healers of the old Tawantinsuyo (Inca Empire), during which visitors can ask for consultations and participate in the offering rituals, coca leaf readings and cereminies with sacred plants; in the District of Huasao, Province of Quispicanchis, Cusco.
Our Lady of the Snow.
Typical and peculiar religious festivity, with night watch and fireworks the night before. On the central day, there is a preocession with autochthous daces, festivity mass and bullfighting, in the ditricts and San Salvador in Calca.
Staging of Peru's historical evolution, in which the local inhabitants act, recreating the battle on horses between Incas and Spaniards, followed by the Proclamation of Peru's Independence, after a one to one "struggle", in the district of Pucyura, Province of Anta.
Lord of Pampacucho.
Celebration of much devotion, with night watch and fireworks. On the central day, a festivity mass and other religious ceremonies are organized, which are part of the traditional homage to the "Pampacucho Fair", during which is particed the exchange trade called "Ranty", in the District of Sicuani, Province of Canchis.
Our Lady MAmacha Asunta's Assumption.
This celebration is very important in the region and includes several customary activities. The night before, there are night watches with firework castle and on the central day of mass and celebration, there is a procession of the religious images (statues) accompanied by its suite of followers, dances and bands of musicians, "Kacharpan" popular feasring, bullfightinh and the gastronomy on that date is represented by the "merienda" (snack), guinea pigs, oven baked pork and lamb meat, in the districts and provinces of Combapata, Cusipata, Tinta, Canchis, Paucartambo, Coya, Pisaq in Calca, Quillabamba, La Convencion, Ccapacmarka, and Santo Tomas in Chumbivilcas, Maras, Urubamba,Pillpinto, Paruro, Acomayo and others.
Third Saturday of August:
Highly colorful folkloric gathering, in which participate delegations of artists proceeding from the whole region. Their main activity is the stading of the Inca " Wanqoy Phuturi", in the distric of Tinta, Province of Canhis.
Popular festivity, with religious ceremonias and presentation of dances. In Tinta, a peculiar horse race with jockeys dressed as 16 century Spaniards is organized and there is an agricultural fair, in the district and provinces of Tinta-Canchis and Pisaq-Calca.
Saint Rose of Lima.
The peruvian Saint is Patron of the Police Forces, in the Region Cusco. In provincial capitals, military and religious ceremonies are organized. Saint Rose is also Patron of Yananaoca and Quiquijana and in the latter, one can appreciate dances wirh "captainships" who make a gala of their dexterity in junggling. Yanaoca, Quiquijana-Quispicanchis and the whole region.
Last Sunday of August:
Willka Raymi, in P'isaq.
Ritual to the condor "Apu Willka Kirao" and rite to the Earth Mother or "Pacha Mama" with physical competition "Wayna Atipakuy Wara Wara" and ancestral music, in the District of Pisaq, Province of Calca.
Virgin of Nativity.
It is one of the great and solemn religios and popular festivities, with night watch and castles of fireworks the night before. On the central day, relious ceremonies are organized and then, there is a crowded and colorful procession, with dances and bands of musicians from other regions of the country. In provinces, Agricultural fairs are also organized in the districts and provinces of Santiago-Cusco,Acos-Acomayo, Huarocondo-Anta, Lares-Calca, Pacaretambo-Accha and Pillpinto in Paruro; Pitumarca-Canchis, Santo Tomas- Chumbivilcas, Huasao and Quispicanchis.
Exaltation of the Cross.
The comunity members carry the crosses, previously dressed with shrouds and tunics, from the "apachets" (Andean Moutain shrines), to the Catholic churches, to assist to solemn masses and then, to a popular feast called "Kacharpan", in the whole region.
Celebration of the Lord of Huanca
In the district of San Salvador, Province of Calca, Cusco, the story of the Lord of Huanca began in 1675, when according to what is told, Jesus Christ appeared in a cave before the native Diego Quispe whose narration inspired one of the best painters of that time, to represent the image on the rock. The cult (Recognized in 1779) has its central day on September 14 and followers come to San Salvador from distant parts of Peru and Bolivia, to heal their physical and spiritual afflictions.
First Fortinight of September:
Andean ritual that makes brigs epics of the Incari to memory and in which noble Incan youths were submitted to hars physical test, in order to deserve the "Masqaypacha" or be recognized as adult citizens. The actors are almost one thousand students of the National School of Sciences, competing in the natural setting of Saqsayhuaman's Esplanade, in the District and Province of Cusco.
September 24 to 29 (Mobile date):
Cusco's Tourist Week.
Full program of cultural, tourist and sports activities, with mass sensitizaon actions, promoting the Worldwide Tourism Day and the importnace of tourism in the regional development, ending with a ceremony of authorizatin to the year's outstanding companies and institutions, in the District and Province of Cusco.
Worlwide Tourism Day.
Special celebration, welcoming visitores in the airports and bus terminals, the owners of hotels, hostels, guest houses and restaurants organize welcoming displays and offer special discounts. In the morning, a street parade is organized, with the participation of the students in tourism, in the city's monumental perimetr, with a retreat at noon. At night, there is a music and dance festival on the Main Square; District and Province of Cusco.
Festivity of the Patron of San Jeronimo.
Fastuous relgious fetivity with novenaries, vespers with fireworks and popular feast. The 30 is the central day and there see a mass, with precession of the Patron Saint, accompanied by groups of musicans, masquerades and groups of dancers presided by their "stewards" A "Chiri Uchu" gastronomic festival is also organized, with a great variety of typical dishes, among which stand out "Chicharrones" "solteros", "Stuffed red ho peppers", "oven-baked guinea pig", "chicha de jora" and "frutillada". On the following day, festivities willend with a "kacharpan" or pupular feast, in the District of San Jeronimo, Province of Cusco.
October (Mobile date):
"Unu Urco ritual".
Ancestral ritual of the culti to water, performed in a natural and archaeological scenery. Then, there is a music and dances festival. The celebration is related to mythical tale which, on the same date, is naturally celebrated on Mount Pitusiray, where the gigantic shadow of the Incan Princess who, according to the legend, was turned into stone. It is recommended to go up the mountain on the first days of October, when the shadows can be appreciated with greater exactitude, in the Archaeological Complex of Urco, Province of Calca.
Typical religious festivity, with night watch and fireworks on the night before. On the central day, there is a preocession with presentation of dances, music and popular feast, in the District of Maras, Province of Urubamba.
First Week of October:
Tanta Raymi or Bread Feast.
Festival which revalues the bread making gastronomic specially, in the district of Oropesa; a locality that has more than one hundred bakers who supply the city of Cusco and other areas in the region and in which stands out the degustation of the "chutas" a very pleasant Andean bread. Then there are degustation contests of quality and variety of bread, a giant bread is prepared in the aim of achieving a world record and everything ends with a festival of music and dances.
Virgin of the Rosary.
Religious festival of great devotion, mainly in Combapata, in homage to the Virginof the Resary. It last three days (October 6,7 and 8). It is her arms, has the military rank of "Navy Captain" and this is why they dress him with a military hat and uniform. That festivity includes nine day pray night watch with fireworks, solemn festivity masses, well frequented preocessions with groups of misicians, presentations of 14 very colorful and joyful dances, 2 bullfights and gastronomy is represented by "the merienda", a mixed dish of 5 typical stews, in the districts and provinces of Combapata, Checacupe and San Pedro in Canchis; Quiquijana and Andahuaylillas in Quispocanchis; San Salvador, Taray and Huathua in Calca and Sangara, Acomayo, Chaullay and Huyro in la Convencion.
Staging of the ancestral rite of the Incario dedicated to the Mooon "Killa", in which 600 student actors from the Educational Center "Faith and Joy" set the stage, in the District of San Jeronimo, Province of Cusco.
Festivity with quite a lot of religious fervor, wich includes vespers, festivity mass, procession, "Kacharpan" or popular feast, autochthous dances representative of the area and a commercial fair, with the practice of the old exchange trade, in the District of Pitumarka, Province of Canchis.
First Week of November: La Convencion's Stourist Week.
Full program of cualtural, tourist and sports activities, with distribution of prizes to the year's most outstanding companies and istitutions, in the District of Quillabamba, Province of la Convención.
First of November:
All Saint's Day.
Full program of cultural, tourist and sports activities, with distribution of prizes to the year's most outstanding companies and institutions, in the District of Quillabamba, Province of La Convención.
First of November:
All Saints' Day.
Religious festivity on a national level, in Cusco, the first of November is dedicated to the "Live Saints" and the families celebrate, consuming the "Oven-baked Piglet" with "tamales" (Steam-cookked fresh ground comrolled into a corn leaf), family parties are organized and the visitors can degust the typical dish in gastronomy festivals, in the main public places. In the same way, the "wawa" bread, previously "baptized" in playful "ceremonies" is consumed and it also is a custom to give a "wawa" to girls and a "horse" the boys; both of which are made of "wawa" bread (Wawa means baby in Quechua), in the whole region of Cusco.
Dead People's Day.
The population worships its dead, with visits to the cementery and paper garlands, prayers for the dead, chants and family reunions, in the whole region of Cusco.
First Week of November:
Event which gathers representatives of the folklore of the high provinces; mainly that of Chumbivilcas and Espinar, with their autochthonous dances. The gastronomy includes the "Timpu" or steam dish, with guinea pig and "qoqawas" or snacks, in the District of Livitaca, Province of Chumbivilcas.
Virgin of the Inmaculate Conception.
Religious festivity with much devotion, which includes nine day praters, vespers, fireworks, processions, presentation of very colorful and joyful dances, bullfights and "Kacharpari" or popular feast, in the districts and provinces of Ninabamba, Acomayo, Taray and San Salvador in Calca; Santa Teresa in La Convención; Checacupe and Canchis; Sauri, Espinar and Santo Tomas de Ccapacmarca in Chumbilvilcas.
Traditional fair and expression of popular art which gathers the region's artist and artisans. Nowadays, the most represented handricraft lines are silverwork, ceramics, jewelry, carved wood and mainly creative sowing work, with extraordinary and novel work each year. Takes place on the Main Square and San Francisco Square,in the city of Cusco.
Characterized Celebration in the Christian world, Chrismas, in Cusco's rural areas, has its own particularity. Allusive Christmas carols, as well as masses are celebrated and sung in Quechua. Parishes and famililes set Jesus Child's nativity scenes up or "Belenes" (Christmas Cribs). On Christmas Eve, families and visitors can purchase figurines, little animals or other decorations for their Christmas Cribs, in the traditional "Santuranticuy" and the traditional "Santuranticuy" and the municipal authorities organizes a singular nativity scene contest, in the whole region.
Third Suday of December:
Adoration of the Three wise men and Quechua Drama.
Organized and performed by the neighbors of the old Neighborhood of San Blas, the "Toqocachi" in threee acts, Adoration of the Three Wise Men, Christmas Carol Concert of young singers and the Quechua Drama and Satire, in the Neighborhood of San Blas, Cusco.
Ancestral challege of local inhabitants for a one to one confrontation, in a traditional settling of disputes for disagreements occured during the year. The fight and purches are real. After the mutual aggression, the opponents hug each other and there are no ill feelings or revenge. In the "Takanakuy" or hit each other, men and womwn participate, in the district of Santo Tomas, Province of Chumbivilcas, Cusco.
Ancient ritual struggle between Ynaoca communities, in which the participants use "Waracas" or slingshots and fight to the sound of Qeunas and "pitos" (Andean flutes), in the Paraje Ch'iaripata, District of Yanaoca, Province of Canas.