The festivity of " Virgen de la
Candelaria" is celebrated every year from 8 to 14 of
February in Puno ( 1\2 hour by airplane from Cusco to
Juliaca) .It's a very interesting traditional
celebration with a lot of dancing in which the dancers
show decorated and authentic masks. The most famous is
the "diablada" (devil dance) .
"Inti Raymi" (The Sun celebration)
It's the most important celebration in Cusco .Every
year on the 24th of June, this area comes to life.
According to the ancient chroniclers ,these celebrations
were linked to the harvest and provided the opportunity
for the Incas to express their appreciation to their
gods : the sun, the moon, the thunder, Huanacauri and
the Mother Earth for the products which ensured the
sustenance of the population. Singing and dancing and
consuming the sacred chicha of the corn are integral
parts of this celebration. The Inty Raymi ceremonies are
performed in several towns designated for this purpose.
But the most important ritual event is the beginning of
the harvest. In the beginning of the harvest, the youth
chosen for military or political activities go to the
Sausero to collect the corn. This area is near the
Temple of the Sun or Coricancha. The tourists go up to
the Sacsayhuaman fortress where they can admire the
performances and dances. The dancers wear traditional
clothing of the Incas and the Inca's kings sacrifice a
lama , using a knife, to offer the heart to the Sun .
The festivity continues all week.
Since early colonial times , the feast of the Corpus
Christi has been celebrated throughout the Andes. This
feast , which is one of the most widespread in America,
began in the Middle Ages. It provides the opportunity
for faithful Catholics to be united around the
Eucharists . In Cusco ,the festivities last a week and
are attended by many visitors. During the celebrations,
most of the sacred images which are normally displayed
in the churches of the city , are joined together in the
Cathedral. Each image is accompanied by members of the
brotherhood dedicated to this figure in their respective
parishes. The most important event of the feast is the
moment when all of the faithful, the musicians and the
saints take part in the procession around the plaza de
Armas. Some of the members of the brotherhood wear
special clothing or carry elegant wax candles ,
embroidered images and standards. Altars such as those
traditionally used in Spain and introduced in America -with
images of the saints and the mirrors which so fascinated
the Indians of the colony- are set up in the corners of
the plaza. During the feast of Corpus Christi , a fair
used be held in the city at the same time to sell
products from the valley.
Virgen of the Carmen in Paucartambo
There are many versions of the origin of the feast day.
Initially it was the Spaniards who introduced the
practice by paying respect to this virgin in all of the
towns of the colony. For this reason, feasts were
celebrated throughout America. In the town it is said
that in the 16th century, two virgins arrived in
southern Peru from Spain. One of them from the town of
Puno and another from the town of Paucartambo. Some
claimed that the most beautiful virgin remained in
Paucartambo. This caused a conflict between the two
towns and the residents of Puno tried to steal her.
Oftentimes in the Andean religious feasts, there is a
sense of competition with other feast days. In this
case, the lovely clothing as well as the organization
and discipline of the dancers, has made the feast day of
Paucartambo one of the most important in the region.
Presently, there are 15 groups which participate the
feast. It is celebrated each year from July 15 - 19 .The
celebration held in the town includes a recreation of
historical events, which are traditionally staged in
several scenes. Each group recreates moments and events
which are interpreted in mythical cycles. The complexity
, the musical symbols, the costumes, the dances and the
symbiosis between actor and spectator are the reasons
why the feasts of Paucartambo attracts many tourists.
During the first days of the feast, many tourists take
advantage of their stay in Paucartambo to visit the Tres
Cruces, where they can admire the horizon of the Amazon
and the phenomenon of the sun dance at sunrise.
June and July are the most interesting months to visit
Cusco because there are a lot of celebrations and
traditional dances such as : "Corpus Christi" religious
festivity , Inti Raimi (see above) , "Virgen del Carmen"
from 15 to 17 of July with exhibitions of allegorical
masks specially in the city of Paucartambo (250 km from
Cusco) , and much more......