Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Always a Peruvian Party

If you spend any amount of time in Cusco, you will notice the significant amount of parades and fireworks. Peruvians are a festive and lively people, taking any opportunity to celebrate. No matter what month you choose to travel to Peru, you will be able to experience a holiday of some kind. Cusco especially is a great place to be to witness these traditional festivals. For your reading pleasure I have compiled a list of common celebrations in Cusco and around Peru. Enjoy!

January

New Years January 1st

Peruvians love fireworks. This is especially evident on New Years. For many days leading up to New Years, there will be stalls and shops where you can buy fireworks to use in the streets. On New Years in Cusco, many gather in the Plaza de Armas to watch the fireworks show that goes off at exactly Midnight. This is an amazing experience, but be careful! With fireworks going off all around you might sustain a couple burn holes in your clothes. 

Adoracion de Reyes Magos

This, like many festivals in Peru, is a Christian celebration. It is the celebration of the three wise men, and includes parades.

February

Carnival

Brasil isn’t the only country with a Carnival! This is especially big in Cusco where the locals will dance around Yunsa tree, and the city will be full of water related pranks! You may get a bit wet, but don’t worry! Its rainy season in February, so that would probably happen anyway.

March

Semana Santa

This is a holy week in Peru. It takes place the last week of lent, and includes many parades and processions, especially here in Cusco.

Senor de los Temblores

This event takes place on Easter Monday and includes a parade with the mounted images of The Lord of the Earthquakes.

May

Cruz Velaccly

This is a Traditional Andean holiday which celebrates the image of the Holy Cross.

Corpus Christi

Another traditional holiday, a procession with the images of many holy Christian saints makes its way through the city to the main Cathedral located in the Plaza de Armas.

Festival de la Cerveza Cusqueña

In case you didn’t know, people from Cusco call themselves Cusqueñans. Cusqueña is also the name of a locally made beer, and in May there is usually a festival to celebrate this local treasure. The dates of this festival can vary. 

June
Inti Raymi 24th

This traditional holiday entails a traditional ceremony at the ruins of Sacsayhuaman near Cusco. You can but tickets in advance if you wish to attend this cultural event.

July
Fiestas de Quillabamba 25th-29th

This festival takes place in Quillabamba and celebrates the anniversary of La Convencion. It usually included music, beauty pageants, and motocross competitions.

Independence Day28th-29th

This is a great day to be in Peru! National pride and Peruvian flags are everywhere. If you are in Lima, you can experience the 21 cannon salute. The actual Independence Day is the 28th, but festivities go for 2 days.
August
Nuestrsa Senora de las Nieves 5th  

This celebration of “Our Lady of the Snows” includes food fairs, traditional dance, parades, and in some places they even have bull fights.

September
Senor de Huanca 14th 

This day is all about a pilgrimage from Cusco to the stone sanctuary of Huanca to receive blessings from the shrine. It takes about 4-6 hours of walking to arrive.

October

In October the people of Cusco celebrate their truism and all that it does for the local economy with a week-long festival. Dates on this vary.

December
Dia Imnmaculada Conception 8th

This is an important religious holiday for Peruvians celebrating the Virgin Mary and her immaculate conception. Like many other holidays, not many business are open, and there are processionals through the city of Cusco. This might be a good day to check out one of the beautiful cathedrals the city has to offer.

Christmas 24th-25th

If you have to be away from home for Christmas, then Cusco isn’t a bad place to spend the holidays. At exactly midnight on Christmas, there are beautiful fireworks in the sky to celebrate the arrival of this special day. This is called Noche Buena, and in Peru Christmas Eve is actually more important than Christmas day. There are also beautiful markets that pop up around Christmas Eve where you can buy your loved ones a present. The entire city is filled with an almost electric excitement, and everyone is in a celebrating mood.  


Peru is a beautiful place with a unique culture. On any normal day you can experience something different from back home. However I would strongly encourage you to make an effort to experience some form of festival or celebration, especially in Cusco. There’s a strong possibility that afterwards, you might not look at parties the same way again! 

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