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Customs and traditions of Peru

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Home » Festividades del Perú » Customs and traditions of Peru

Peru is a country with a rich history and cultural diversity that is reflected in its customs and traditions. Over the centuries, diverse racial influences have shaped the Peruvian identity, creating a unique mix of festivities, celebrations and rituals that are fundamental to the lives of its inhabitants.

Peru's most important customs and traditions

Below, we will explore some of Peru's most important customs and traditions:

Procession of the Lord of the Miracles.

One of the most emblematic festivities in Peru is the Procession of the Lord of Miracles. This celebration takes place in October (purple month) and attracts thousands of faithful and tourists who congregate to pay homage to the image of the Moreno Christ.

The history of this devotion dates back to the 17th century, when a strong earthquake struck Lima and the image of Christ painted on an adobe wall was miraculously left intact. Since then, Peruvians have celebrated this procession with great fervour, wearing purple habits and carrying the image of the Lord of Miracles in a procession through the streets of Lima and other cities in the country.

Patriotic Holidays

Peru's Fiestas Patrias are celebrated every July 28th and 29th, commemorating the country's independence in 1821. During this time, its citizens flag each street with their respective patriotic decorations, and the streets are filled with parades and civic events.

On 28 July, the President of Peru hoists the flag in Lima's Plaza de Armas, while 29 July is dedicated to the "Gran Parada Militar", a parade showcasing the discipline and pride of the Peruvian armed forces.

Gastronomic Fair in Peru

Peruvian gastronomy is very famous all over the world for its diversity of flavours and unique dishes, being one of the countries with a first class culinary destination in which it obtained several recognitions and awards, one of them being the World Culinary Awards.

Gastronomia De Peru
Gastronomy Of Peru

Virgen de la Candelaria.

The Festivity of the Virgen de la Candelaria is one of the largest religious celebrations in southern Peru, especially in Puno, and was declared Immaterial Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO on 27 November 2014.

It takes place in February and lasts several days (24 January and 13 February). During this festivity, dances and parades are performed in honour of the Virgin Mary, with colourful costumes and musicians playing traditional instruments. One of the most outstanding dances is the "Diablada", which represents the struggle between good and evil.

Festivity of the Virgen del Carmen.

The Festivity of the Virgen del Carmen, declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanityby Unesco on 24 November 2014, is celebrated in July in the town of Paucartambo, in the region of Cusco. During this festival, a mixture of Andean and Catholic religious traditions is performed.

The participants dress in colourful costumes and perform traditional dances. The procession of the Virgen del Carmen is a main event, in which the image of the Virgin is carried through the streets of the city.

Among the most representative dances are the Qhapaq Chúnchu, Qhapac Qolla, Qhapac Negro and the Saqras known as the little ones that give a different meaning to this festival.

Peruvian Carnivals

Carnivals are colourful celebrations throughout Peru, with different manifestations in different regions of the country. One of the best known celebrations is the Carnival of Cajamarca, which takes place in February and is famous for its parade competitions and the famous "yunza", a tree decorated with blankets, balloons, buckets, etc., which is cut down while the participants dance and try to prevent it from falling.

In the region of Ayacucho, it is also celebrated with music, dances and delicious dishes, while in the region of Puno, Cusco, the Carnival is famous for its costume contests and parades.

Inti Raymi Festival - Festival of the Sun

The Inti Raymi is an Inca festival celebrated on 24 June in honour of the Sun God, Inti. The celebration takes place in Cusco and attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world.

During the Inti Raymi, a theatrical representation of the ancient Inca ceremony takes place on its three stages: the Qoricancha, Plaza de Armas and the last main site is in Sacsayhuaman; participants are dressed in traditional costumes and live music.

The festival is a way of keeping alive the Inca heritage and honouring the sun, which played a fundamental role in the life of this civilisation. It has been going on for generations, as this festival was instituted by the Inca Pachacútec in the 1430s AD.

Pago a la Tierra or Pacha Mama Day.

The Pago a la Tierra is an ancestral tradition that is celebrated throughout the country, but especially in the Andean region. During this festivity, offerings are made to the Pacha Mama or mother earth; it is a ritual of thanksgiving led by a pampa misayoc.

The ingredients of the offering are: coca leaves, condor feather, flowers, grains, biscuits, candies, flowers, etc. They also place chicha de jora, table wine.

The ceremony takes place every August 1st, and the offerings are meant to communicate with nature and ask for its protection.

Pilgrimage to Señor de Qoyllorriti.

The pilgrimage to the Lord of Qoyllorriti is a religious and cultural festival that takes place in the Cusco region in May or June. Thousands of pilgrims travel to the mountain of Sinakara to pay homage to the Lord of Qoyllorriti and participate in traditional rituals.

At this festival they are organised into nations, currently there are eight nations representing each site of the Cusco region, in this festival there is an exchange of cultures and this is a clear example of syncretism of the rich cultural diversity of the region.

Celebration of Corpus Christi in Cusco.

Corpus Christi is a catholic festivity that is celebrated all over the world, but in Cusco, it acquires a special dimension. This celebration takes place during one week. It takes place 60 days after Easter Sunday.

The celebration of Corpus Christi in Cusco is one of the most important religious festivities in Peru, it has its roots in colonial times and is celebrated with great magnificence and splendour, lasting approximately one week.

During these days, the streets of Cusco are filled with processions, dances and traditional music. One of the highlights of this festivity is that the 15 saints take to the streets of the city, carried on platforms and accompanied by their believers.

Similarly, the streets are covered with carpets of flowers and sawdust, creating designs that fade under the feet of the bearers and spectators. They are accompanied by marching bands during all the processions, creating a festive and solemn atmosphere at the same time.

At the same time, the traditional dish Chiriuchu is eaten, which includes chicken, guinea pig, sesina or charqui, chorizo, black pudding, torreja, cheese, seaweed, eggplant, roasted corn and rocoto.

Holy Week in Cuzco

This festivity is celebrated in the week leading up to Easter Sunday and commemorates the passion and death of Jesus Christ. During this week, one of the most emblematic traditions of Holy Week in Cusco is the procession of the Señor de los Temblores, which takes place on Holy Monday.

Esta procesión reúne a miles de fieles que caminan detrás de la imagen de Cristo, en un acto de devoción y fe. Las calles se llenan de incienso y el sonido de campanas, creando un ambiente solemne y religiosa.

En jueves santo se come los 12 platos, y en esta ocasión son hechos a base de platos tradicionales en Cusco, luego el viernes santo se tiene la costumbre de subir a las montañas más altas en modo de peregrinación, la más conocida es ir a Sacsayhuaman y hacerse sobar para ayudar a Jesús crucificado.

Feast of St. John

It is celebrated on 24 June in honour of San Juan Bautista, and originates from the Amazon region. During the Feast of St. John, people gather around bonfires called shunto. This custom is believed to symbolise purification and renewal.

In addition, in the Amazon, the festival includes dances, music, traditional food such as "juane" and healing rituals performed by local shamans in which the people go to rivers and lakes to participate in the "blessed bathing". The Fiesta de San Juan is a celebration that combines religious and pagan elements, making it a unique manifestation of Peru's cultural diversity.

These are just some of the many customs and traditions that enrich Peruvian culture. Throughout the country, you can find regional festivities that reflect Peru's geographical and ethnic diversity. From traditional dances in the highlands to Afro-Peruvian music on the coast to shamanic practices in the Amazon, Peru is a melting pot of cultures and traditions that are celebrated with pride and devotion.

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