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Peru Festivals and Holidays

January 6
Bajada de Reyes - The Visit of the Wise Men

This religious festivity coincides with the taking of power of the Varayoc whose authority is given to his successor with a silver-tipped staff as a symbol. There is a procession in which two images, The Christ Child and San Isidro the farmer are walked around the city. A bullfight takes place in the afternoon.

February 1 - 14
Fiesta de la Candelaria - The Virgen of the Candelaria - Puno

This is one of the most important religious celebrations to honor the Virgin of the Candelaria. The Central day is on February the 2nd. Approximately 50 musical groups from al over Puno perform wearing very attractive costumes. It is a beautiful combination of colors, beauty and high spirit.

Festival Carnavalesco - Carnival

ACORA: is the name of an Aymara Dance Festival that the community of Acora holds near Lake Titicaca, 35 km south of Puno. Acora is well-known for its cultural tradition and its dances refer to love and the relationship between earth, animals and natural phenomena.

CUSCO: All through the month of February, the Pukllay or Game can be seen in the city. The carnival begins with the "Day of Compadres" in which people display their joy with flowers, paint, and water.

March - April
Semana Santa - Holy Week

AYACUCHO: This festivity, which takes place in March or April, is incredibly beautiful in Ayacucho. The Holy Week is celebrated with great pomp and the religiosity of the people can be felt in the air. During the week there are many processions and people participate with a lot of devotion.

CUSCO: The Holy Weeks is one of the examples of the Spanish heritage. On Monday, the biggest religious procession takes place in Cusco. "El Señor de los Temblores" is walked around the main streets of Cusco followed by thousands of people. During the rest of the week, Death and Resurrection are remembered through processions, the preparation of the Twelve Dishes and fasting.

May 2 - 3
Cruz Velacuy - Festival of the Crosses

This is a religious festivity also brought by the Spanish. Crosses are adorned with flowers and ribbons. People venerate the crosses during the night, they pray, and the crosses are carried to churches where they are blessed. Groups of musicians and dancers accompany the crosses.

May - June
Señor de Qoyllur Riti - Lord of Qoyllur Riti

Qoyllur Riti or Snow Star constitutes an important manifestation of religiosity in the Andes. The blending of Spanish and Indigenous elements is interesting: The Apus or mountain-gods and the crosses.
Pilgrims walk for about 4 hours, they have to pass by 9 crosses and shrines. The Sanctuary is located in Sinakhara, at about 4600 m. The crowd takes a purification bath which is needed in order to enter a spiritual dimension where both the energy of deities and men join.

May - June
Corpus Christi Festivity

In Cusco, 15 sacred images make their rounds of the city streets, followed by their brotherhoods and musical groups which create a sort of a competition. All the images representing virgins and saints are taken to the Cathedral where they are blessed before returning to their own churches.
Chiri Uchu is the characteristic food of this festivity. Fruits such as chirimoya, coconut, sugar cane, etc are also typical.

June - first week
The Beer Festival of Cusco

It has become an event of international prestige. Famous Latin artists such as Charly García, Gian Marco, Laura Pausini have performed during the last 13 years and thousands of people from Peru come to Cusco and experience the Beer Festival.

June 24
Inti Raymi - The Sun Festival

Inti Raymi celebrated on the 24th of June is the Festival in which Wiracocha is honored. The Inca Empire or Tawantinsuyo based its religion on the cult of the Sun. This celebration is a symbol of the deep bondage between the sun and his children, the human beings.
The 24th of June, the winter solistice, is the beginning of the New Year of he Sun.

June 18 to 30
Feria Agropecaria Huancaro

Regional, national und international exhibitors present their products in this traditional fair.
Musical groups from varied music styles perform open-air. There is also a Festival of the 13 Provinces of Cusco whose representatives prepare typical food, and play typical music.

July 15 - 16
Fiesta de la Virgen de Carmen, known as "Mamacha Carmen".

The religious festivity of Nuestra Señora del Carmen is mainly celebrated in the towns of Paucartambo and Pisaq. Known as the festivity of the "Mamacha Carmen", it is a religious celebration deeply settled in its inhabitants who display extravagance and happiness.
We suggest a visit to Tres Cruces a point from where you can admire the amazing sunrise. Many people from different cities of Peru go to Paucartambo for this festivity. Colorful dancers accompany Mamacha Carmen in magnificent processions, and typical food is offered to people by the local sponsors.

July 26 to 30
"Yawar Fiesta"

This ritual bullfight is held in Cotabambas, a town in the department of Apurimac, on July 28 and 29 to celebrate Peru's independence. Yawar Fiesta is a representation of the fight from the Incas against the conquerors. A condor representing the Incas is tied to the back of the bull representing the Spanish. The celebrants jump into the bullring to wave the cape in front of the bull which is enraged by the bird's pecking. At the end the condor is set free.

July 28 and 29
Fiestas Patrias - Independence Day of Peru

On July 28, 1821, the Independence from Spain was proclaimed. From then on, this day is commemorated with different ceremonies throughout the country. Evening gatherings in streets and plazas of different cities take place every day. Each town has its own traditions.
The biggest attraction is the military Parade that is held in one of Lima's main avenues.

August 1
Pago a la Pachamama - Payment to the Mother Earth

This ritual is performed all over the highlands of Peru on August 1st. It is an ancestral festivity where locals thank "Pachamama" or Mother Earth for everything obtained during the year (good crops, rain, etc.). People pay their respect with little gifts as coca leaves, corn, different grains, etc.

September 14
Señor de Huanca - Lord of Huanca

Every year, on September 14, thousands of devotees from Peru and some from places such as Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina and Chile go to the Santuary of Huanca to receive the blessing of the Lord.
In 1675, Diego Quispe who was an Indian escaped from the Yasos mine where he had suffered abuse. He hid from his master in a cave, and it is said that this place was illuminated by the presence of God. As soon as the priests of Our Lady of Mercy heard the story, they had an artist from the Cusquenian School sent there to paint an image of the Lord in the place where it had been seen.

October 18 to 28
"Señor de los Milagros" - Lord of Miracles

October is the month of celebrations to honor The Lord of the Miracles (Señor de los Milagros), the Patron Saint of Lima. Many street processions in which the Image of Jesus is carried on an ornamented altar are followed by the faithful dressed in purple robes. The entire celebration, reverent and at the same time festive, is accompanied by singing, music, singing, the sound of bells and the burning of incense.

November 1, 2
Todos los Santos - All Saints Day

The beginning of this celebration is on November 1st with the Day of the Living. Relatives and friends get together to enjoy the typical meal called lechon (roasted pork) with tamales. The Day of the Dead is on the 2nd of November and everybody visits the cemetery and takes gifts to the family members who passed away.

December 24

Cusco is known for its artisans who have become famous around the world with their unique style. For Christmas famous and unknown artisans from Cusco exhibit their works, made with the best of their patience, in the Plaza de Armas. The miniatures made to adorn the Nativity scene are the delight of children.

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