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Holy Week in Cusco, Peru

Semana De Pascual En Peru
December 23, 2022
Tiempo de lectura: 3 minutos

Religious festivals are very varied in Peru and are intrinsically linked to the sense of identity and culture of all Peruvians.

Thus, multiple religious festivals, such as Holy Week in the city of Cusco, are now part of the local culture and folklore. A product of the syncretism of the European and Andean festivals, nowadays, the Holy Week in Cusco is lived in a unique way.

The festivities of Holy Week begin after the fourth Sunday of Lent, which coincides with Palm Sunday.

Semana Santa 900x600 - Holy Week in Cusco, Peru
Holy Week

Palm Sunday

While it is true that Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week, this usually has a movable date, which is between the second half of March and the first week of April with the celebration of a great mass celebrated in Quechua in the cathedral of Cusco at 5 am.

The attendants carry palm leaves, or crosses made of the same leaf, which can be bought in the main square.

During this day, many also make pilgrimages to the nearest hills in search of thorns, generally those in the shape of a cross.

These palm leaves or thorns are used to attend mass, and then these blessed crosses are hung behind doors as a sign of blessing and protection for the home.

Semana Santa en Cusco 900x756 - Holy Week in Cusco, Peru
Holy Week In Cusco

Easter Monday

Easter Monday is the day that starts the Holy Week, being at the same time the most important day within the Holy Week in Cusco, since it is this day in which the sworn Patron Saint of the city, goes out to give his blessing to the entire population in a tour that covers the main streets of the historic center of the city.

Sworn Patron Saint of Cusco, the Lord of the Tremors

Senor de los Temblores Cusco 900x598 - Holy Week in Cusco, Peru
Lord Of The Tremors, Cusco

The Lord of the Tremors, declared as the sworn patron saint of the city of Cusco after performing miracles to the population of Cusco. The brown Christ, affectionately called Taytacha by the most faithful devotees, has a great religious and spiritual value for the inhabitants of Cusco.

Since the miraculous event of 1650, when one of the most devastating earthquakes devastated the imperial city, the image of the brown Christ was carried in procession, who amidst the desperate prayers and prayers of the population calmed the disaster.

This brown-skinned Christ has a great bond of faith that unites him to the Cusco devotees connected even with Inca traditions, a sample of this is that during the procession the faithful offer flowers of Ñucchu (Salvia Oppositiflora) flower that is exclusively used for this saint.

The same flower was offered to the huacas and Andean gods in religious ceremonies according to the writings of chroniclers like Bernabe Cobo and Huamán Poma de Ayala, in the same way their costume alludes to the ancient skirts used by the pre-Columbian settlers.

Maundy Thursday

On Holy Thursday masses are held in the different temples of the city, some families perform ''The journey of the 7 temples'' recalling the 7 falls of Christ on his way to Calvary.

These days you will also find different fairs in the city where you can find traditional Easter desserts such as maicillos, empanadas cusqueñas, corn cakes, apple water, among others.

Good Friday

The tradition of the twelve dishes for Holy Week in Cuzco

On Good Friday, the traditional ''Dinner of the 12 dishes'' takes place, a special date in which, although it is true that the consumption of red meat is not allowed, delicious dishes are prepared based on Tarwi, quinoa, fish, pumpkin and others.

It's common for families to gather at home to share the 12 courses, but you can also find traditional dishes at local restaurants.

Easter Sunday

This last day of Holy Week, the day begins with the population attending very early to the mass that is celebrated in the cathedral from 6 am, this is the most important day for Catholic believers, as it represents the resurrection of Jesus, so this day is usually the most joyful of Holy Week. Where you can also taste the traditional dishes of Cusco in the gastronomic fairs of the squares and markets. 

Semana De Pascual En Peru
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