Cusco, the most tourist city in Peru, can be visited at any time of the year. But to make the most of your stay, during May and June you will be able to witness the cultural greatness of the city. With so much historical wealth and numerous traditional customs, it is not surprising that there are many festivities and celebrations. In general, the main celebrations have a strong religious theme. Although there are also other festivities with traditional ancestral themes, dances, and rituals. Therefore, together with the travel experts of Machu Travel Peru, we have prepared an article about the main festivals in Cusco. In this way, you will know when and how each of these festivities is celebrated.
The months where the best festivals in Cusco take part
MARCH / APRIL
During March and April, the popular Holy Week or Semana Santa is celebrated. This is one of the most celebrated religious weeks in South America and a recognized festival in Cusco. Holy Week is the last week of Lent until Easter Sunday. Throughout the week you can see marching bands, fireworks, and endless parties. Religious or not, the festivities that take part in the week are a spectacle you won’t want to miss. Make sure to take part in the processions that usually go through some of Cusco’s top attractions.
During May, some important celebrations are held in the city of Cusco. Cruz Velacuy is one of the festivals in Cusco that you cannot miss. This festival is celebrated every May 3 and is considered the beginning of all celebrations in Cusco. This festival had its origins in the 18th century and previously it was a small family celebration where people offered to the different “Crosses” that are located in the city. The festival itself begins with a traditional evening of the cross where a manager prepares the arrangements. The manager’s name is “Carguyoq” and this person offers an altar that is built in honor of the cross.
The traditional and recognized Corpus Christi festival is celebrated in May or June. This religious celebration is also celebrated all over the world, but in Cusco, it has a particular, colorful, and traditional background that began with the conquest of America. When the Spanish noticed that the Incas held a parade where they took their mummies, they decided to end this tradition. As a way to impose the Catholic religion, mummies were exchanged for images of Catholics and saints. This is how religion was imposed through this festival in Cusco. From that moment the different old churches in Cusco prepare the colorful saints in beautiful dresses. You can also enjoy many traditional dances in the 3 days that this festival lasts in Cusco. Taking part in Corpus Christi is one of the best things to do in Cusco.
At Corpus Christi, one of the most delicious dishes to taste is Chiriuchu, which means “plate of cold food served.” This traditional and typical dish is eaten cold, and it has many ingredients. Among them, you can find chicken, guinea pig, chorizo, corn, hot peppers, cheese, dried meat, Cochayuyu, and much more. The origin of this dish dates back to Inca times when the different people came to the city to celebrate Corpus Christi. The different families brought ingredients from their homes; they mixed them all in a plate and that’s how it was born. Tradition says that to enjoy this dish, you have to eat a little of everything at once. Today you can enjoy this delicious dish at one of the best festivals in Cusco.
During June, you can see numerous parades thanks to the celebration of the day of Cusco. Many of the public and private institutions, such as schools, universities, hotels, and tourism agencies, prepare pieces of typical dances. These dances are presented in the different parades that take place in the Plaza de Armas during the days prior to the day of Cusco. The school parades are contests, where boys and girls in the last grade of primary and secondary school give their best. Universities and Institutes do the same, but on established days. It is worth enjoying these shows in the city of Cusco. Art and creativity also take place in the parade of the Escuela Superior de Arte de Bellas Artes. This is also done in the Cusco main square, where creativity and art are part of a particular form of expression. The parade is full of color and music and will make you dance and enjoy while you watch it.
Fireworks and a great night of music in the Plaza de Armas is a celebration in honor of the Inca city of Cusco. The whole town is invited to a night of light, sound, and music in the main square where you can enjoy varied music from different groups and fireworks show that will illuminate the Cusco sky. June 24 is the anniversary day of Cusco and the great celebration of Inti Raimy is also held. This is considered the most important celebration in honor of the main god of the Incas: the Sun. The Inti Raymi is one of the most anticipated festivals in Cusco, making June one of the best times to visit the Imperial City.
In July one of the most important days for Peru takes part. Independence Day is celebrated on July 28 and is a national holiday. Peru became independent in 1821 and you can see numerous celebrations throughout the country. Whether in Cusco or Lima, you will be able to appreciate parades, parties, important events, exhibitions, and much more. Don’t worry about safety, Cusco is safe to travel to.
During the first of August, Pachamama day is celebrated, that is, Mother Earth’s day. This is one of the most traditional and ancient native celebrations of Cusco. Households typically choose to pay homage to the land with offerings of food, drink, and any other personal items of value. This is known as payment to the land, where the Andean New Year also begins.
The entire month of October is dedicated to showing the majesty of the Imperial City and the surrounding region. During October, numerous different events are scheduled where different accessible and sale prices are exhibited. This is much more evident during the Cusco Tourist Week. Many people take part in the city tour in Cusco, in addition to enjoying the many tours around it.
December is a month where the festivities in Cusco manifest themselves in all their splendor. Christmas in Cusco is one of the best celebrations. All of Christmas Eve is characterized by being very lively, with parties and celebrations that continue until late at night. While Christmas Day is usually a much more family day.
“IN THE GARDEN OF YOUR DAYS CULTIVATE FESTIVITY, PLAY, AND CELEBRATIONS”.
Cusco is a city where festivities abound. Keep in mind that during every month of the year you can appreciate one or another holiday. Together with the experts of Machu Travel Peru, we try to gather those unmissable months to celebrate. If you want to know more about our tours of the city, you can consult with our advisors.