FESTIVITIES AND EVENTS IN CUSCO
Share the joy the dances and songs along the streets of Cusco!
Join the townspeople and celebrate the festivities and events of the year.
Dances, Songs, parades, costumes, colors, laughter, sighs and fun fill the streets of Cusco in each festivity.
We offer you a calendar where you will find all the events and celebrations that will take place in Cusco.
We recommend you consider this information when planning your trip, as it is very exciting to experience these events.
Calendar of festivities and events in Cusco
THREE KINGS DAY
The Three Kings Day is celebrated on January 6 in Cusco and the biblical characters “Los Reyes Magos” are remembered.
A religious procession takes place and folklore returns to be the protagonist along with musical groups and dancers.
SAINT SEBASTIAN FEAST
The festivity of Saint Sebastian was recently declared in Peru as Cultural Patrimony of the Nation.
In this festivity, take place a procession in wich the image of Saint Sebastian is carried on a litter by 50 men (approximately), many of them to show their faith, carrying it on their shoulders and barefoot for a few meters.
This procession is accompanied by folk dances. Comparsas from different regions of Cusco and surrounding cities participate in this event.
While this celebration takes place in the district of San Sebastian, the comparsas deploy their main performance in the Plaza de Armas of Cusco.
Origin of this festivity
According to the story, the image of the Saint was taken to Cusco a few years after the Spanish arrived, quickly becoming the patron saint of Cusco.
One of the tests of faith of the people to San Sebastian, took place in 1922, when a frost ended with the harvests of the area and under a solidarity act obtained resources donated by the inhabitants of the Sacred Valley of the Incas and the Puna antiplane. Since then they are active in these cults.
FESTIVAL OF THE COMPADRES IN CUSCO
Compadres Thursday is a Cusco tradition, in which the “comadres”, neighbors and youth of the town satirize an authority, a well-known character of the neighborhood, whether loved or hated, highlighting its physical and personal characteristics.
The objective is to transmit a message to society but without the intention of doing harm. To do this, a doll is made from recycling materials and then hung on a public lighting pole.
The doll usually has dimensions equal to those of a man, with clothes (pants, shirt or underpants, etc.) causing mockery, satire, joke, laughter and laughter in the spectators. Since it is Jueves de Compadres, the comadres apart from making the doll, prepare delicious typical foods based on stewed and strawberry.
FESTIVAL OF THE COMADRES IN CUSCO
On the Thursday of comadres, it is similar to that of the compadres, and it takes place on the Thursday following the one that took place the party of the compadres.
It is the moment in which the compadres charge revenge before the comadres, causing joy, much mockery and joke in the town; subtract their skirts, pants, hats, bras, etc. and make dolls based on recycled materials or disused garments, exaggerating physical characteristics of some of them such as breasts, butt, face, or any defect found.
This custom has the intention of transmitting a message to society, always based on respect and ridicule without offense.
These days, everything is laughter and visitors to the city of Cusco enjoy the eloquence of its inhabitants!
It is a festivity that brings joy to the population of Cusco in Plaza de Armas. Its main attraction are the Andean dances, games with water, talc and mixtures.
These carnivals are held throughout Peru and beyond the regional variations, a common feature is the ritual of the yunza, called umisha in the jungle and cortamonte on the coast.
Two of the most attractive places to witness the carnivals are the Sacred Valley of the Incas and the Southern Valley, where the colors are the protons of the festivities, the streets of the villages are decorated and colorful parades are placed.
The central day of the Carnival is always held on a Sunday and it is normal to see the celebrations, cusqueños mixed with national and foreign visitors.
A week after this day, the “Octava” takes place, where the Yunzadas or cortamontes are made; it is about the artificial planting of the trunk of a tree loaded with gifts, around which the guests dance until it is cut with a machete or an ax.
The couple that makes the tree fall takes charge of the organization of the yunza next year. It is a custom for participants to throw themselves at each other’s water balloons during the Carnival days, so we recommend that spectators take their precautions.
The lunches consist of the following typical Cusco dishes: Puchero or Timbu, which consists of placing the broth in one dish and in another the potato, chuño, yucca, sweet potato, peach, cabbage, carrot, rice and of course the pork and beef; The Kapchi, a fresh dish made from onions, potatoes, beans, milk, cheese, mushrooms and accompanied by stuffed rocoto and rice.
Finally, Frutillada, a refreshing drink based on chicha de jora and strawberry previously boiled with cinnamon and lemon verbena. This drink is usually served with cane liquor.
LORD OF THE TREMBLERS
This celebration originates in the year 1650, when the faithful claimed that an image of Christ on the cross had helped them in a devastating earthquake that occurred in the city of Cusco.
From that moment the inhabitants of this town pay homage to the image of Taitacha Tremors, the Lord of the Earthquakes.
The celebration takes place on Easter Monday at Easter.
The striking of this celebration is the fusion between the Andean religions and Christianity; the Cathedral of Cusco, where the image is preserved, is built on the foundations of the ancient temple dedicated to the pagan god Apulla Tikse Wiracocha.
As in the other tributes to saints, the image of the Lord of the Earthquakes is transferred in procession through the streets of the city as the Incas did to transfer the mummies of their chiefs, high priests and rulers.
The believers make a crown to the Lord of the Earthquakes, using the flower ñucchu (Salvia splendes) which was used as an offering to the ancient gods Kon and Wiracocha. In turn, its crimson petals are scattered by the faithful over the venerated image, symbolizing the blood of Christ.
The image used is called Black Christ, because since Charles V donated it, despite the smoke of candles and incense, no one has dared to restore the blackened paint, which has given the Christ a dark appearance and a dark face.
The celebration of the Lord of the Earthquakes takes place between the second half of March and the first week of April. Moveable date.
On this day there is a gastronomic festival and the presentation of colonial balconies.
Easter in the City of Cusco is held in various parishes and churches where the catholic people remember the passion and death of Jesus Christ. For conmemorate of this fact, the cuzco people worship to Cusco Pattern Jury, El se señor de los tamblores or, in english, The Lord of the Earthquakes.
Begins on Palm Sunday, recalling Jesus’ triumphal entry into the Jerusalem city, riding on a donkey, acclaimed by the crowd that welcomed him with palm leaves in hand. The palms represent the triumph and joy. So on Palm Sunday Masses, the faithful flock carrying these palms and olive leaves, taken from the Cusco jungle and coast.
At approximately 9.00 a.m. is the traditional “Blessing of Ramos” and a Mass in the Cathedral of Cusco.
On Easter Monday, is dedicated to “Señor de los temblores” (Taytacha) Pattern Jury of Cusco, in which 60000 parishioners (aprox) congregate in the Plaza de Armas for to do the route of the tradicional procession and later receive blessing. Starts very early with solemn communion Masses at different times from 5.45hs. and the Homily of Cusco Archbishop 13.30hs.
The procession starts at 14.00hs, with the ringing of the bells of the Cathedral and of De la Compañía Church, for to walk the main streets of the historical Cuzco center adorned with carpets of flowers and multicolored sawdust. As it passes through the different streets, the Cuzco pattern Jury is received by families and institutions, who from their balconies express their veneration with endless rains ñujchus (native red flower that symbolizes the blood shed by our Lord).
According history, the ancient Cuzco people have used that these flowers to pour and spread the Señor de los Temblores, the flowers were collected by children and women in large numbers for being transformed into beautiful floral arrangements that put to Taytacha De los Temblores as offering. Today make them famous personalities and different institutions.
Usually the route after the Plaza de Armas, makes its path to Plateros street until The Santa Teresa church, where pauses for 20 minutes to change shroud, then continues through the Plaza de San Francisco and Espinar in the second there is the La Merced church. Finally the image of Cuzco Pattern Jury get into Plaza de Armas, through the Mantas Street, then to the cathedral, and then give his blessing to thousands of Cuzco people that coalesce in the Plaza de Armas to worship the black Christ.
On easter Tuesday, there are Masses with assistance of the presbytery. Holy Thursday, Mass of the “Institution and the priesthood” with procession to the monument (Sagrada Familia). On Friday at 15.00hs. celebration of the Lord’s Passion and at 17.00hs. procession of the Lord of the Holy Sepulchre (Basilica de la Merced). Some people go to the hilltops where there is a cross and at return brings spines crossings or cactus, to hang on the door of their houses, and others simply buy their “cross of thorns” other “ñiguas” adorned with garlic braids, pink wildflowers, q’era and phallchas (purple flowers), also crosses tied and adorned with palm leaves and herbs, just as native medicinal herbs sold in the San Pedro Square, where a fair known as “hampirantikuy” (purchase herbal medicine), which are offered by people who come from distant communities.
Some families still tend to make “Fasting” as a sign of support and humility to the sufferings of Christ, past noon, the elderly prepared the twelve dishes, a custom that has been losing hold on the younger generation at risk of disappearing with the traditional and original Portajes. They are served in small portions as: soups and stews of fish, wheat, olluco, corn and ending with delicious desserts such as stewed peach, rice pudding, also donuts, sighs, pies, maicillos, etc.
Holy Saturday is performed holding the solemn Easter vigil, while Easter Sunday, are celebrate solemn easter masses and finally the closure of Easter week.
Easter in Cusco is between the second half of March to the first week of April, the date is movable.
The celebration Cruz Velacuy is held on May 2 in the entire district of Cusco and involves to worship to crosses. At the time of the conquest, the Spaniards destroyed all shrines or temples of the Incas (called by the original, Huacas), placing in these places crosses, a symbol of their Christianity. The Incas were forced to worship this new symbol. This is the origin of this holiday, Cruz Velacuy or Festival of the crosses.
On this holiday, each community chooses the Carguyoc or Butler. He has the responsibility of organizing and usually pay the costs of the celebration.
Usually, six months before the festival, the Carguyoc asks for donations, “jurk’a”, to the families, friends and neighbors with economic solvency for the organization of the event.
The community gives to Carguyoc an offering of bread specially prepared in stages, a glass of pisco and beer.
The participants of the celebration cooperate with fireworks, food, beer, candles, music groups, etc.
The celebration starts on May 2, with the move of the Cross (if it is a movable cross) from its sanctuary to the house of Butler where waiting an altar for overnight.
To appease the cold it is customary to light a fire in front of the altar and the organizers provide them with ponches of bean, cane liquor, pisco or aguardiente to the people attending the event, while some devote their time to pray.
Like most of the celebrations in Cusco, the people enjoy folk dances, different styles of music and fireworks. At twelve o’clock, while the people eat chicken or lamb soup, it is the choice of who will be the Carguyoc for the next year.
May 3 is the main day of the event. In the early hours, the procession begins, each community carries his cross to churches to be blessed, and then return to the house of the butler.
In the afternoon, the community returns to the Cross to its place of origin where it will remain until next year.
There are two types of crosses, movable and immovable.The movable crosses are usually wooden and at several events are carried in procession to different places. The others, the Immovables, usually are carved in stone or concrete made. These crosses are close to the churches and are decorated in their altar.
QESWACHAKA SUSPENSION BRIDGE
About 110 kilometers away, in the southwestern area of the Cusco city is the Inka Bridge of Q’eswachaca in the town of Comba Pata, in the province of Canas.
The Inca bridge, made from vegetable fibers, is located at 3,700 meters above sea level and crosses the Apurimac River.
The Inca Q’eswachaca Suspension Bridge, measures about 28 meters from end to end and 1.2 meters wide.
Although today it is not used as a continuous transit route, year after year, the second week of June, nearly a thousand people from the Andean communities of Huinchiri, Chaupibanda, Ccollana Quehue and Pelcaro meet to carry out maintenance work and reconstruction.
The reconstruction process of the Q’eswachaka suspension bridge lasts 3 days.
Days before, the women and children of the 4 communities, mainly, are responsible for collecting the qoya ichu, vegetable fiber or straw with which the bridge is rebuilt.
The Andean woman (accompanied by her family) weaves the first ropes, called qheswas, with which they will renew the bridge.
The first day the Andean priest will ask the Apus for permission, especially the Apu tutelary “Quinsallallawi”, to begin work on the reconstruction through offerings to the Pachamama. As is well known, the Andean tradition considers the mountains and the earth as divinities.
Some of the products that are offered to the earth are incense, chickpeas, coca leaves, pallares, corn, animal fat and wine, a fire is lit next to the bridge and the products are burned. The objective is to satisfy the earth, to enjoy the offerings and at the same time guarantee that the work goes well and accidents do not arise.
In the afternoon, the ropes are extended to twist and link them, in this way the handrails of the bridge that are the base of the bridge are prepared. In this activity only men participate; women and children continue to build qheswas for the fabric of the rest of Q’eswachaka.
On the second day, an offering is made again and once permission is received from the pachamama and the apus, work begins on the renovation of the bridge. A comunero crosses the old Q’eswachaka with a long qheswa that will allow for the input from one end to the other. The hard ones or railings are tied and the old bridge is dropped.
Then two specialists in bridging fabric with fibers direct the reconstruction.
At the end of the day the base is left composed of branches and qheswas that will be like the carpet of the Q’eswachaka.
On the third day the specialist men of the fabric begin to reconstitute the bridge, one from each end with the help of two people. This ability is learned within the family, so that knowledge is inherited from generation to generation.
Once weave and place the carpet and finished the work the authorities cross the 28 meters long bridge.
On the fourth day the festivities are held, accompanied by music and indigenous dances organized by the inhabitants of the “ayllus”.
Q’eswachaka is the last bridge of its kind that still survives modernity and that is almost in its original state.
From generation to generation for more than five centuries and thanks to the decision of the communities that act as a living culture they repeat techniques and ceremonies of purely Andean origin, reproducing year after year this wonderful event, as a paradox in time, showing the authenticity of the Andean culture.
In 2014, the inhabitants of the Andean communities and authorities renewing the Q’eswachaka suspension bridge annually received the Unesco resolution declaring the ritual as intangible cultural heritage of humanity.
The cost to attend the event is very economical and is charged by the Communities that participate in the reconstruction process.
SEÑOR DE TORRECHAYOC
The Lord of Torrechayoc is the patron of the City of Urubamba, district of Cusco.
The origin of this celebration dates back to 1.860, when an enormous cross was placed with the image of the Lord of Torrechayoc amid snow and it celebrated a mass for the opening of a stretch of road Urubamba-Lares.
Years later, the pastor of the place due to several histories of passersby on the image of Torrechayoc told them about the bitter cold he was suffering at that location, decided to move the cross to Urubamba where the people worship and do mass in his name.
The celebration of the Lord of Torrechayoc will take place on May 23 and 24 in a space (to be determined) outdoors, because a part of a typical mass and its usual procession, there will be parades, dances, fireworks, etc.
Qoyllur Rit’i, is one of the most important religious festivals in Cusco.
Involved a large number of faithful from different towns and cities as Paucartambo, Canchis, Quispicanchi, Acomayo, Urubamba, Paruro y Anta.
This festival takes place at the foot of Ausangate mountain at 5.362 meters above sea level, in the town of Sinaqara.
On 10 August 2004 the festival and the sanctuary of Qoyllur Rit’i were declared cultural heritage of Peru.
In November 2011, the Unesco inscribed the pilgrimage of this festival as a member of the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
According to official versions, the origin of Qoyllur Rit’i festival , takes place at 1.780 where a mestizo child , “Manuel”, will be introduced to Mariano Mayta, a Quechua child who pastored by Colquepunku snowed.
The Children became good friends. When Mariano’s father was to meet his son, he was surprised to note the significant increase in their livestock.
In gratitude he sent his son, Mariano, to buy new clothing for Manuel. As the type of clothing of Manuel was exclusively of the bishop of Cusco, he reported to bishop on the existance of the child, and this one sent a troop in search of him.
When the priest catched Manuel, the boy became a tayanca tree. Mariano died of printing at the same place and was buried under a stone, pecisamente where Manuel was last seen.
A large number of faithful originating accustomed to light candles to the stone under which it is said was buried Mariano. But the religious authorities of the time, for give Christian imprint to this ceremony, ordered to paint an image of the crucified Christ on the stone. This painting is called the Qoyllur Rit’i.
In Quechua, qoyllur means Star y Rit’i, Snow; therefore Qoyllur Rit’i Lord means Lord of the Star Snow.
More than 10 thousand people, each year, come to Sinqara, at the foot of Mount Ausangate to pay homage to the image of the Child Jesus.
The event consist a procession accompanied with dancing, bands, fireworks and a symbolic market of alasitas (miniature craft fair).
Throughout the pilgrimage one group of queros will ascend the summit to find the Star of the Snow (Qoyllur Rit’i). They carry large blocks of ice on their backs to receive blessings and continuous to their communities to irrigate their lands with sacred water.
In this party is prohibited drunkenness and sexual contact, common feature of Andean festivals. This Holiday precedes the feast of Corpus Christi.
Corpus Christi will be celebrated from May 25, 2016 in all of Peru, but the main festival takes place in Cusco.
The entry will take place on Wednesday, May 25, the central day on Thursday, May 26 and the Eighth, on Thursday, June 2, 2016.
The celebration consists of the procession of 15 saints and virgins from different churches of Cusco, which are transferred to the Cathedral of Plaza de Armas and are placed on vigil throughout the night.
The central day, that is to say the 26th of May, at 10.30 am. the Archbishop of Cusco invites a mass that begins the procession of the famous silver chariot that carries the golden sun of the monstrance that represents the most holy.
The 15 Saints and Virgins that go out in procession are: San Blas of the parish of San Blas, San Antonio of the parish of San Cristóbal, San Pedro of the parish of San Pedro, San Jerónimo of the parish of the district of San Jerónimo, San José from the parish of Belén, San Cristóbal from the parish of San Cristóbal, Virgen de la Natividad from the parish of Almudena, San Sebastián from the parish of San Sebastián, Santa Ana from the Santa Ana parish, Santa Bárbara from the parish of the district of Poroy, Santiago Apostle of the parish of Santiago, Virgin of the Remedies of the church of Santa Catalina, Virgin of the Immaculate Conception of the Cathedral, Purified Virgin of the parish of San Pedro and Virgin of Bethlehem of the parish of Bethlehem.
The colorful event has several folk music groups and a variety of traditional dishes. The typical food of this festival is the chiriuchu, a festival with its name is organized in the Plaza San Francisco where 200 fairgrounds display their stalls selling the traditional chiriuchu on the days of the religious festival.
The origin of Corpus Christi goes back to the time of the conquest, when the Spaniards arrived in Cusco and knew one of the customs of the town that consisted in taking the Incas mummies in procession as the winter solstice approached. This was also an act of adoration to the apus, the pachamama and the sun god, Inti Raymi.
Once again, with the gospel in hand they wanted to annul the Inca holiday, replacing the venerated Inca mummies with images of virgins and saints. This is how the old Corpus Christi festival began to be modified in the ancient capital of Tahuantinsuyo.
Corpus Christi is a celebration that has a mobile celebration date (usually takes place between May and early June).
CHILDREN PARADE AT THE JUBILEE MONTH
During the first fortnight of the month of June parades take place that has as protagonist the citizens of Cusco. Each parade corresponds to a segment of the population in particular and to different institutions.
The children of the educational institutions of primary level offer an unforgettable parade, as they usually do every year, as well as the children of the initial level who participate with typical dances.
The children parade with striking traditional costumes, while dancing to the rhythm of the festive music of Cusco. This performance is one of the most celebrated and emotional of the month, nobody wants to miss this moment.
The adolescents of the secondary level are also present, parading in the historic center, as well as the non-university higher institutes.
During these days, the Plaza de Armas of the city of Cusco is filled with color, joy and innocence.
FOLKLORIC PARADE OF PROVINCES AND INSTITUTIONS OF CUSCO
Every year, Cusco enjoys the traditional parade of allegories that takes place days before the biggest celebration of the Andean people, Inti raymi.
La Plaza de Armas of Cusco city is the stage where the school of fine arts looks with his works of art, while days before the governmental and private entities as well as schools offer the viewer a parade of Andean music and dance.
Each year, the parade changes the theme, but always referring to some events in life, such as politics, agriculture, caring for the environment, historical figures and current events, Andean traditions and festivities in general. This custom has become a great opportunity for the people through their performances to express their agreement or disagreement, their liking or dislike, their beliefs and feelings regarding the factors covered by the chosen theme.
On June 23, the day of the Andean Metropolis is celebrated or the Day of Cusco and the reintegration for the universal culture of one of the greatest festivals of the Inca Empire: The Inti Raymi.
The citizens of Cusco celebrate the Jubilee month of Cusco with a series of ceremonial, artistic and cultural events, these are a great attraction for thousands of national and foreign tourists.
The representatives of the different public, private, religious and political institutions, among others, parade through the central streets that surround the Plaza de Armas of Cusco wearing ponchos and hats typical of the region, accompanied by bands of musicians.
Finally, when it is 12 o’clock at night, the village intones the sacred notes of the Hymn of Cusco.
The civic parade continues until the last delegation makes its way. At the end of this traditional parade the inhabitants of Cusco retire to their homes and get ready to attend the great event of Inti Raymi.
Inti Raymi, in Quechua, means Resurrection of the sun.
The day of Inti Raymi was the largest and most important celebration that took place in the Inca era.
Their religion was based on sun worship, the Incas considered themselves the Children of the Sun and he was grateful for their existence, they respected him and reciprocated with sacrifices and offerings.
The Inti Raymi festival is celebrated on June 24 and marks the beginning of a new year. It is celebrated at the end of the harvest of potatoes and corn (on the winter solstice) to thank Inti for the abundant harvest or to ask for a more successful one in the next season.
Inti Raymi symbolizes the harmonious relationship of man with the Sun God, the highest divinity of the Incas.
Currently, the event begins in the Qoricancha (place that the Inka Pachakuteq ordered to build, as a sacred site, which temple, intended for the worship of the sun) and continues towards the Plaza de Armas, to finally reach the Sacsayhuaman esplanade, summoning to thousands of visitors from all over the world.
CHRONOGRAM INTI RAYMI
09.OO hs. Coricancha: Start of the staging. (Duration 30 minutes).
11.OO hs. Plaza de Armas (Auqaypata): The lnka and his royal entourage. The entrance will be through Inti K’ijllu street. (Duration 45 minutes).
13.3O hs. Sacsayhuaman: Central ceremony. (Duration of 90 minutes).
HOW TO PRESENT THE FESTIVITY OF INTI RAYMI
The staging carried out in the Qorikancha and the Plaza de Armas are freely accessible to the public.
We recommend going early to access a good location and thus be able to witness the event from an optimal perspective.
Because the activity is done in 3 different places, it is important to choose which one you want to get the best visibility for. While you can see the three stages, those looking for a good location in the Qorikancha (where it starts), it will be more difficult to get good location in the Plaza de Armas, since thousands of people will be distributed in these places.
The entrance and location in the stands installed in the esplanade of Sacsayhuamán are through the acquisition or prior reservation of numbered tickets and according to the areas that are specified in the Rates Table and Location Plan that can be viewed on the Emufec website. (Company that organizes the event).
If you want to witness the event in Sacsayhuamán for free, you can do it from the hills that are located around the fortress. There it is necessary to arrive early to obtain a good location, as in the first two places (Qorikancha and Plaza de Armas).
PLACES WHERE THE INTI RAYMI EVENT IS HELD
The scenarios, where the festival is celebrated in honor of the Sun God, takes place in the three historical and natural sites:
The Coricancha (Golden fence): In the time of the Incas was the main temple dedicated to the sun.
The Plaza de Armas (the old Auqaypata or Plaza del Guerrero): During the Inca period, the ceremony took place entirely in the middle of the great ushnu or ceremonial platform.
Sacsayhuaman (from Quechua, “saqsay” and “waman” translated into Spanish means “satiate falcon”). This impressive archaeological center is located at 3,555 m.s.n.m.
The staging that will take place in Sacsayhuaman includes the following artistic paintings:
– Ceremonial location.
– Report of the 4 Suyus or Regions: Qollasuyu, Kuntisuyu, Antisuyu and Chinchaysuyu.
– Rite of the Chicha.
– Rite of the Sacred Fire.
– Sacrifice of the Flame (Andean camelid) and auguries.
– Rite of the Sankhu (sacred bread).
– Q’ochurikuy (outburst of popular exaltation).
Ollantay Raymi, is a staging that takes place in Ollantaytambo, and uses the archaeological site of Ollantaytambo as a natural setting.
Many travelers have the opportunity to witness it once a year.
Ollantay Raymi is based on the “Drama Ollantay”, a colonial Quechua writing, considered of Inca origin, which refers to the love story between the daughter of the Inca and a soldier.
The event takes place in the month of June, days after the celebrations of Inti Raymi, so if you plan to travel for these dates we recommend you to see the events of Inti Raymi in the city of Cusco and be in Ollantaytambo for those of Ollantay Raymi which is one of the most beautiful and emotional festivals that takes place in the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
You can enjoy the performance, music and typical dishes of Cusco.
The Ollantay Drama
Ollantay, is a man of plebeian origin, was a warrior of the Inca army that for his high performance was promoted to the nobility of privilege and he was awarded significant awards. The drama begins when he falls in love with Cusi Coyllur, daughter of the Inca Pachacutec. This relationship was a forbidden love, since for the laws of the Incas, the daughter of the Inca could only marry another man of Inca lineage.
However Ollantay and Cusi Coyllur, decided to live their love in secret and only shared it with mother Ccoya (wife of the Inca).
Despite the warnings, Ollantay decides to ask the Inca to formally approve their union. Pachacutec enraged reminds the young man of his humble origin and expels him from his presence. Then he orders his daughter, Princess Cusi Coyllur, to be locked in a dungeon.
Months later it is there where she gave birth to a girl she has fathered with Ollantay whom she named Ima Súmac (meaning, beautiful girl).
Ollantay, upon hearing that the princess was not in the palace, believes that she has been murdered and decides to leave Cusco, but not before threatening to return and destroy the imperial city.
One ascends in the territory, today called Ollantaytambo (city that takes its name) to which it decides to protect and to resist to the invasion of the Inca Pachacutec.
Upon learning of this fact, the Inca ordered his general to gather strength and march to fight Ollantay. For his part, Ollantay sends his general, who sets a trap for the Inca, succeeding in defeating him along with the entire army.
Ten years later the Inca Pachacutec dies without having achieved his desire to defeat Ollantay; his son Tupac Yupanqui happens to him.
Meanwhile, the Inca princess, continued in prison, without losing hope of leaving her.
During all this time the daughter of the princess and Ollantay is raised by a woman close to the Inca family. The little girl did not know who her real parents were until one day she discovers it for herself. It is at that moment that he goes to meet the new Inca and asks for clemency for his dam mother.
At the same time the new Inca, Tupac Yupanqui, plans to defeat and capture Ollantay, for this he sends his general, who introduces himself to Ollantay covered with wounds and deceives him saying that they were provoked by the new Inca. This is how Ollantay gains the confidence and taking advantage of a night party, opens the doors of Ollantaytambo to give access to the troops of the Inca Túpac Yupanqui, which manages to capture Ollantay, his general and other officers.
These were taken to Cusco and after an arduous deliverance the new Inca decides not to kill them but to forgive them and gives them hierarchical positions in his army.
Ollantay was appointed general and lieutenant of the Inca in case of his absence due to military matters.
After the orders of Ima Sumac for the liberation of his mother the Inca is interested in the case and asks Ollantay to accompany him to see the woman in prison.
When they see her, the Inca discovers that she is his sister and listens to his sad story. Once this happens, the Inca decides to marry Ollantay and that is how the story of Ollantay and the Inca princess ends with a happy ending.
LORD OF TORRECHAYOC
The Lord of Torrechayoc is the patron saint of the City of Urubamba, district of Cusco.
The origin of this celebration goes back to the year 1860, when a huge cross was placed with the image of the Lord of Torrechayoc in the middle of the snow and an opening mass was celebrated on a section of the Urubamba-Lares highway.
Years later, the parish priest of the place, due to several passers-by stories about the image of Torrechayoc speaking to them about the intense cold that he suffered in that location, decided to transfer the cross to Urubamba where he is worshiped and mass is summoned in your name.
The celebration of the Lord of Torrechayoc takes place in the open air, since apart from a mass and its usual procession, there are parades, dances, fireworks displays, etc.
FESTIVAL OF THE VIRGIN OF THE CARMEN
The celebration of the Virgen del Carmen or Mamacha del Carmen takes place on July 16.
It has the participation of twelve comparsas and the cult of the Virgin.
At her party, she dresses up like a princess and she wears an Inca parasol made with macaw feathers.
Some people adopting the role of cherubs form their court and the qhapaq chunchos, their favorite dancers, stand guard around their litter.
By tradition the colors of his face are a sign of good or bad omen: if it is pink like the fruits of the molle that ferment for the chicha will come times of well-being, on the other hand if his cheeks pale, his angers must be feared.
This festival is one of the most important in Pisac, while the main celebration is in Paucartambo.
The celebrations of Quillabamba correspond to the anniversary of the province of the Convention, whose capital is the city of Quillabamba.
Every year during this week, Señorita Café or Señorita Quillabamba is elected; cockfighting championships, motocross competitions are held, as well as the Cocla Fair where a musical festival with national and international artists takes place.
Each year, the Municipality of Cusco through the Municipal Celebration Company, develops a general program to celebrate the national holiday of Peru, which is done in coordination with the main institutions of the city. The festivities are held with school, youth and military parades and with a gastronomic and musical festival that takes place in the Plaza de Armas of Cusco and Plaza Regocijo.
Also, EMUFEC S.A. is in charge of the planning of artistic musical shows, light and sound events and others in the Plaza Mayor on the night of July 28 with the purpose of celebrating each anniversary.
PACHAMAMA DAY – MOTHER EARTH DAY
The day of the Pachamama or Pachamama Raymi is celebrated on August 1 of each year.
This celebration is to thank Mother Earth for having nurtured, welcomed, protected and provided everything our being needs to live throughout the past year.
On the first day of August, the central day of the celebration, man does not work the land, but rather lets it rest from his magnificent work and makes offerings to him, a ritual known as “Pago a la tierra”.
The food that is offered must be cooked, since they are a sample of what the human being does with the products that he offers us. Also, they are offered, coca leaves, chicha de jora, seeds huayruros (mystical seeds of the forest), among others.
The food that is offered to the Pachamama, Mother Earth, are not arbitrary but are the best that the human being has at that moment and that they consider indispensable to feed their family during the coming year. The better the quality and variety of the food, the better.
Once the offering is made, it is covered with earth and some are given cigarettes to make it smoke.
This tradition integrates the masculine aspect of nature such as the Apus (sacred mountains) and the feminine aspect, La Pachamama (Mother Earth).
The event is a reflection of the relationship of reciprocity that the Andean man maintains with nature and the spiritual world. The Andean cultures, consider that this reciprocal relationship of giving and receiving is what keeps in harmony and union with nature and men.
The payment to the Pachamama is a very old custom; since antiquity, the human being accustoms to entertain mother earth in the form of gratitude for her fertility. The pre-Inca civilization did it and it was transmitted from generation to generation.
In each place where payment is made to the earth, there is a manager, he is called “altomisayoq” and he is chosen for his supernatural powers in the spiritual world. This person is responsible for making the offering (which is called, office) and invite those present to make their prayers and orders intended not only for personal benefit but also to the people around him, as well as aspects that you consider important at the planetary level.
On this date the following festivals are held: “Pachamamaraymi” (district of Ccatca, although it is celebrated in all of Cusco), the “Wataqallariy” (district of Maras) and the Kinturaymi (district of Oropesa, town of Huasao).
VIRGIN DE LAS NIEVES
The Virgen de las Nieves is the patron saint of the town of Tinta in Cusco, its celebration takes place in the month of August. The central day of the celebration is August 5.
The festival lasts two weeks, in which various activities are carried out to attract travelers to know the history, customs and culture of the town.
Among the activities that are carried out there are literary competitions, concerts, conferences and on the central day, August 5, a very special mass is celebrated and a procession accompanied by dances and music.
History of the Virgen de las Nieves
During colonial times, several churches were built in Cusco.
The bishop of one of them asked the bishop of Spain to donate a virgin to his cathedral.
Once arrived in Peru, they had to move the Virgin from Callao to the cathedral that awaited her in the city of Cusco.
The cuadrilla rested in the towns to which it was arriving way to the city of Cusco, final destiny of the Virgin.
On August 4, he spent the night in the town of Tinta; On the 5th, when they returned to the road, they found that an enormous amount of snow had fallen so they could not continue the journey.
That night the bishop who accompanied the gang dreamed of the image of a beautiful young lady who told her not to make an effort to raise her because she was determined to remain in the town of Tinta.
The next morning dozens of people approached the virgin to continue the transfer of the same, but could not lift it. Reinforcements arrived from the city of Cusco and they did not manage to move it either.
Then, the bishop of Cusco after having talked with the bishop who accompanied the crew about the dream he had had, ordered that a chapel be built so that the Virgin can remain in the town of Tinta.
It is because of what happened that she has been called, Virgen de las Nieves. Every 4th, 5th and 6th of August the people of Tinta celebrate their day with different shows.
VIRGIN DE LA ASUNCIÓN OR DE LA ASUNTA
August 14 is the central day of the celebration of the religious festival of the Virgin of the Assumption or the Asunta de Coya, province of Calca, Cusco.
In the ceremonies three images of the holy effigy come out in procession, accompanied by 27 comparsas of different folk dances, organized by the mayordomos and carguyocs.
This festival was declared Cultural Heritage of Peru, by the Ministry of Culture, in order to preserve the customs of the people, as well as traditions, dances and music of the natives of Peru.
In the celebration of the Virgin of the Assumption the following festivals take place: “Pachamama Raymi” (district of Ccatca), “Wataqallariy” (district of Maras) and “Kinturaymi” (district of Oropesa, town of Huasao).
The main Andean rite that takes place this day is “The payment to the land”, in which the Pachamama (Mother Earth) is worshiped and paid tribute. In this special ceremony the Pachamama is offered, coca leaves, chicha de jora and huayruros seeds (mystic seeds of the jungle).
This festivity, in homage to the Patron Saint and Mayor of Chinchero, is the most important in the district.
The celebration begins with a Mass in honor of the Virgin Nativity. Then a traditional procession takes place, accompanied by dances, colorful costumes and striking comparsas.
In the afternoon, a beauty contest is held, with music and fireworks.
The dances that accompany the virgin are: Qapaq Chuncho, Capac Negro, Auca Chileno, Mestiza Coyacha, Huayllascha, Chunchu, etc.
LORD OF HUANCA
The history of the Lord of Huanca begins in 1675 when Jesus Christ appeared to the indigenous Diego Quispe who was hidden in a cave in the Huanca area to protect himself from the punishment of his Spanish patron.
The alive narration of the happened thing inspired to one of the best painters of the time to represent the image of Christ in a rock.
The cult has its central day on September 14, which devotees arrive from different places in Peru and Bolivia, to heal their afflictions of body and soul.
It is customary to make a seven-hour night hike up the mountain Pachatusan, until you reach the foot of it where the shrine is located, and has been venerating for 339 years an image of Christ, known as the Lord of Huanca. The devotees place candles and flowers.
There is also a procession of the effigies of the Lord of Huanca and the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Access to the sanctuary can be done on foot or by road.
The third Sunday of September will be staged the Warachikuy in Sacsayhuaman, Cusco.
Around 1500 people, among them students of the National School of Sciences, will participate in the event.
During this ritual of Inca evocation, participants must demonstrate their abilities and skills to succeed in physical endurance competitions.
Those who manage to overcome them will be awarded and will receive “La Wara”, which is a kind of tunic that was given to young people as a symbol of virility during the time of the Inca Empire.
The event will last a little over three hours and will feature regional dances and music.
On October 8 of each year, the Moray Raymi festival takes place, where hundreds of local inhabitants, neighboring communities and tourists gather at the archaeological site of Moray, precisely on its platforms to celebrate and thank the land for the good harvest. The participants perform folk dances related to the land, the harvest and the agricultural work.
Archaeological site of Moray, Cusco.
ALL SAINTS’ DAY
All Saints’ Day. Annual celebration in the City of Cusco that takes place on November 1 and 2.
The hope that life exists beyond life, makes the Cusco families build a rest, a form of altar with the foods and drinks that most pleased our loved ones who had to get ahead on the road of life. The Andean tradition tells that on November 1 at noon, the dead return from beyond, to visit their relatives and all their people and also to enjoy the altar and see if they still remember them on earth. The next day, that is, on November 2 before noon, they must return to the other world.
In this celebration are wawa and horse breads, as well as the delicious suckling pig.
In the main squares and avenues of the most popular districts there will be street fairs, where typical desserts and snacks will be offered, such as the countesses, maicillos, sweet empanadas and much more; which are preferred by minors and by local and foreign tourists.
Santuranticuy, (means, sale of saints), is the Traditional Fair of Popular Art that takes place in the City of Cusco, which is part of the celebrations that take place in Christmas Cusqueña.
It takes place on December 24 of each year and the fair is spread throughout the Plaza de Armas of Cusco.
It is one of the largest celebrations, where hundreds of artisans come from all regions of Peru to exhibit their crafts that allude to the Saints and the typical Niño Manuelito, which is the outstanding work in each position of the fair.
It is also customary to buy dresses for the Child Jesus and candles to light at the Christmas celebration.
The Christmas works are made from various techniques such as wood, ceramics, silverware, imagery and others.
Christmas in Cusco, does not go unnoticed, the whole town adds to the choral presentations, make decorations on the balconies of the historic center and as it is constumbre proceeds to the assembly of cribs or “births” in homes, institutions, churches and other local.
The births are decorated with native flora of Cusco, precisely brought from the field and usually placed animals made by artisans of the fair. Then, those who wish may participate in the Births Cusqueños contest that EMUFEC (Municipal Celebration Company of Cusco) performs.
Apart from the stands of the fair, those present will be able to visit the Pucará area, which is located in the Cathedral of Cusco, where artisans from the Puno region display and sell their characteristic products, as well as the talented and renowned artisans of San Blas, representatives of the art of Cusco.
Fair of ornamental, medicinal and wild plants, it is a show full of color.
NEW YEAR CELEBRATIONS IN CUSCO
Thousands of Cusco and tourists will celebrate the arrival of the new year with a ritual in the Plaza de Armas of the city of Cusco, former imperial capital of the Incas.
The ritual will begin with the ringing of bells and will continue with the burning of multi-colored fireworks in the sky of Cusco, there will also be artistic presentations of Andean and popular Peruvian music.
As soon as the clock strikes 00:00 hours on January 1 of the new year, the Cusqueños and tourists gathered in the Plaza de Armas of the Imperial city, wearing striking hats, will take the traditional tour around the perimeter to charge themselves with lots of energy and desire to each other the best for the year that begins.
The spectators will be able to enter the Plaza de Armas from 23:00 hours and enjoy the activity until 01:30 hours.
In order to guarantee security, the national police will provide 150 troops during the realization of the event.
A unique show in the year that you can not miss!