Present students at AMAUTA learning Spanish in Cusco, Peru are looking forward to experience one of the biggest native Indian festivals in the Americas . It’s called Qoyllur Rit´i, meaning “Star Snow”. This is an annual celebration that has indigenous and Catholic influences, a unique experience for travelers and students visiting Peru.
Before the Spaniards brought Christianity, the Andean people considered the Ausangate mountain to be sacred. They believed the gods (Apus) of the Andes had the power to control the weather and the prosperity of their crops. Thus it was very important for them to worship in that place. Later whenever Christianity came, there appeared a picture of Jesus on a boulder in 1780. Now the devout Catholics come from all over to ask for this Lord´s blessings and grace.
This unique festival takes place in the Sinakara Valley and the journey from Cusco is a long one. First, the students will take a bus to Mahuayani, a village two hours away from Cusco, and then they must hike with thousands of other pelgrims 5 miles to get to where the festivities will take place. The trek is not easy, as the temperatures are below zero degrees Celsius and the final destination is at 4,600 meters above sea level. The top of the site is filled with tents where the brave in heart camp. There is also the main church where believers may wait up to 5 hours to enter in, light candles, and pray.
This year the Qoyllur Rit´i will take place on Tuesday, June 13th, but many will begin celebrating on Friday, June 9th. Students will have the opportunity to go on a 1 or 2 day organized trip that starts on Saturday, June 10th, receiving a 5% discount through AMAUTA and the travel partner of the school, Dos Manos Peru Travel. The journey will be filled with bright and traditional costumes, creative dances, and stands for buying food or supplies. It will be a unique time for the Spanish students to see how native festivals are celebrated here in Peru and to get away from the usual tourists routes. It will be an unforgettable part of their trip during their Spanish immersion program and cultural experience in Cusco, Peru.
For more information, please visit the school administration of AMAUTA Cusco (San Agustin 249) or check at Dos Manos Travel or contact AMAUTA through email or through the AMAUTA Facebook page. Don’t miss this unique opportunity!