Festivals and Holidays in Peru

In Peru about 3000 typical fiestas are celebrated every year. The majority of those are organized to celebrate the day of a santo patron (a saint). Those saints originally formed part of the Christian calender in the Colonial Period but they were always mixed with the magical religion of the Andean regions. A good example of this “cultural syncretism” is the Festivity of Corpus Christi in Cusco. This religious day, originally introduced by the Spaniards, was accepted by the Peruvian inhabitants as for them it had little to do with Catholicism, so much more with an old Inca ritual.

Especially in the traditional village high up in the mountains or in the jungle, there are several traditional celebrations, that related to ancient myths and/or important agricultural dates.

Inti Raymi
Inti Raymi
One of the biggest and most impressive celebration, a homage to the Sun, an important God in Inca Culture. The main part of the day takes place at the Ruins of Sacsahuaman, a beautiful natural scenery at 2 kms from Cusco of the large ceremony, an acknowledgment to the Sun...
Corpus Christi
Corpus Christi
The celebration of Corpus Christi used to be celebrated in the whole country, but the Fiesta is most impressive in Cusco. Fifteen saints and virgins, organized in several processions, arrive from different places to the cathedral of Cusco where to came to “greet” the body of Christ, sixty days after Eastern Sunday.
The Virgin of Carmen or Mamacha Carmen
The Virgin of Carmen or Mamacha Carmen
Four hours from Cuzco, in the town of Paucartambo, thousands of devotees hold festivals in honor of the Virgen del Carmen, known locally as Mamacha Carmen, patron saint of the mestizo population. The gathering, that raises the curtain on these days of celebrations is held in the main square, where troupes of musicians play their instruments while richly dressed choirs sing in Quechua...
The Virgin of Candelaria or Mamacha Candelaria
The Virgin of Candelaria or Mamacha Candelaria
For 18 days, the highland town of Puno, nestled on the shores of Lake Titicaca at an altitude of 3,870 meters above sea level, is becomes the Folk Capital of the Americas. The festival gathers more than 200 groups of musicians and dancers to celebrate the Mamacha Candelaria...
All Saints Day
All Saints Day
On these days, which are dedicated to the memory of the dead, Peruvians tend to attend Mass and then in coastal communities, head to the cemetery, bringing flowers and in the highlands, food to share symbolically with the souls of the dead...
The Lord of the Earthquakes
The Lord of the Earthquakes
Ever since 1,650, when the faithful claim that an oil painting of Christ on the Cross held off a devastating earthquake that was rattling the city of Cuzco, the locals have been rendering homage to the image of Taitacha Temblores, the Lord of the Earthquakes. The celebration is held on Easter Monday against the backdrop of Easter Week in the city of Cuzco...
Carnivals in Peru
Carnivals in Peru
The Carnavales in the Peruvian highlands are joyful and cheerful and take place during the month of February. A typical ritual is that of yunza, (umisha in the jungle, and cortamonte in the coast). A big, enormous tree is planted somewhere, full of presents and gifts...
The Lord of the Miracles
The Lord of the Miracles
This procession, which gathers together the largest number of believers in South America, dates back to colonial times, when a slave, brought over from Angola, drew the image of a black Christ on the walls of a wretched hut in the plantation of Pachacamilla, near Lima...
Christmas in Peru
Christmas in Peru
Early Peruvians immediately identified with the festival of Christmas due to the rural nature of the nativity story, where the baby Jesus was born in a barn.Andean Christmases began taking on characteristics of their own, and it is probably the most important celebration of the year...
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