The Corpus Christi in Cusco is a Catholic-Inca religious celebration of the Body of Christ. This festival takes place annually with devotion, music, dance, and native cuisine of Cusco. It does not have a fixed date and depends on the date of Easter Week.

What is Corpus Christi?

Corpus Christi is a cultural religious festival meaning "Body of Christ". It is a celebration that blends Catholic traditions with the practices and beliefs of the Andean peoples, demonstrating the devotion of the faithful.

Corpus Christi Cusco
Corpus Christi Cusco

Corpus Christi is celebrated annually 9 weeks after Holy Thursday (Easter Week) and features 15 saints who leave their church or temple from various parts of Cusco in a procession accompanied by music, dances, and regional cuisine, heading together with their devotees to the Main Square of Cusco.

Why is Corpus Christi Celebrated?

Corpus Christi is a Catholic religious activity honoring the presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist. This festival gains significant relevance in Cusco's culture as a celebration to honor the Inti (Sun).

The Cusco Corpus Christi began in the Inca era, with festivals dedicated to ancestors and gods such as Tayta Inti, the goddess Killa, Kuychi, etc., where the mummies of high sovereigns were paraded. Later, with the arrival of the Spaniards and evangelization, it was decided to replace the procession of mummies with the procession of 15 saints.

Corpus Christi is celebrated worldwide in the Catholic religion; however, the Cusco Corpus Christi is a unique cultural celebration of the body and blood of Christ.

How is Corpus Christi Celebrated in Cusco?

Corpus Christi involves significant organization by the Mayordomos or Carguyoc, who are chosen each year and are responsible for funding each of their Saints.

Cusco Corpus Christi
Cusco Corpus Christi

The celebration includes several stages, the first taking place with the departure of the 15 saints from their respective churches or temples to the Cathedral of Cusco:

  1. San Antonio - San Cristóbal parish
  2. San Jerónimo - San Jerónimo district parish
  3. San Cristóbal - San Cristóbal parish
  4. San Sebastián - San Sebastián district parish
  5. Santa Bárbara - Poroy district parish
  6. Santa Ana - Santa Ana parish
  7. Santiago Apóstol - Santiago parish
  8. San Blas - San Blas parish
  9. San Pedro - San Pedro parish
  10. San José - Belén parish
  11. Virgin of the Nativity - Almudena parish
  12. Virgin of the Remedies - Santa Catalina Church
  13. Virgin Purificada - San Pedro parish
  14. Virgin of Belén - Belén parish
  15. Virgin of the Immaculate Conception - Cathedral Basilica

Each Saint's destination is the Santa Clara Arch, then to the Church of San Pedro, where the symbolic handover of the cathedral keys from San Pedro to San Antonio takes place, followed by a mass. Then, all other saints start a procession towards the Cathedral where they remain for a week.

Octave of Corpus

The octave is the date 8 days after Corpus Christi when the procession of the 15 saints around the Main Square takes place. It commonly starts in the afternoon after lunch.

Descent of the Saints

The descent of the Saints is the day after the octave, consisting of the return of the Saints to their respective churches or temples with the appropriate protocol for each saint, showcasing their culture.

Typical Dishes at Corpus Christi in Cusco

Corpus Christi is characterized by its rich cuisine, which is another major attraction of this festival. The dishes served during this time include:

Typical dishes at Corpus Christi
Typical dishes at Corpus Christi

Chiri Uchu

Chiri Uchu is the emblematic dish of the Corpus Christi festival, which means Chiri = cold and Uchu = chili. This dish dates back to the Inca and colonial era and represents the duality of the Inca culture, being served cold as an offering to the sun, which represents heat.

Its ingredients include boiled chicken, oven-roasted guinea pig, dried meat or chalona, flour pancakes, toasted corn, blood sausage, chorizo, cheese, seaweed or cochayuyo, fish roe, and chili to taste, all served cold and ready to enjoy.

Chiri Uchu dish

Chiri Uchu dish

Cuy Chactado

Cuy Chactado is another highly consumed dish in this significant Cusco festival. It involves boiling a guinea pig and then seasoning it with local spices before final baking in an oven.

It can be served with rice, potatoes, salad, fried yucca, and a typical drink from Cusco.

Cuy Chactado

Cuy

Chactado

Fried Trout

The Cusco fried trout is prepared using either river or sea trout. This typical dish is served fried alongside rice, yucca, and optionally with a criolla sauce.

This dish can be found at any time in the country restaurants of the city.

Fried Trout

Fried Trout

Stuffed Rocoto

The stuffed rocoto is another typical dish of this festival, made from a round-shaped spicy rocoto pepper. It is prepared by removing the veins and seeds and then stuffed with beef, peanuts, chopped onion, and cooked in a pan.

Stuffed Rocoto

Stuffed Rocoto

Quinoa Soup

Quinoa soup is one of the many varieties of soups prepared in Cusco.

This soup is favored by visitors for its nutritional value, pleasant taste, lightness, and is mostly consumed in cold seasons.

It is recommended for those acclimatizing to avoid altitude sickness and also because it is not heavy on the stomach.

Quinoa Soup

Quinoa Soup

Seasonal Fruits

In Cusco, there is a wide variety of fruits that grow in its different provinces according to their climate. During this season, it is common to consume cherimoya, coconut, and sugarcane, which are available throughout the duration of the festival.


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The festivity of the Virgin of Carmen is celebrated in different parts of Peru and the world; it is a colorful celebration full of culture, celebrated every year on July 16th.

History of the Virgin of Carmen

Virgen del Carmen Paucartambo
Virgen del Carmen Paucartambo Photo: @andreabecerraph

The history of the Virgin of Carmen consists of the first book of Kings in the Bible (18:19), where the prophet Elijah lived in a cave on Mount Carmel in Israel. Elijah went up to pray for the drought that affected his population, who, out of gratitude, stopped venerating the god Baal.

Over time, a special meaning was given to the mountain where people went to pray, and it was there that the Order of Carmelites or Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel arose, the main antecedent of devotion to the Virgin of Carmen.

On July 16, 1251, the sixth Superior General of the Order, named San Simon Stock, witnessed the apparition of the Virgin of Carmen, who gave him a scapular that granted the opportunity to go to heaven upon death. This is how homage to the Virgin of Carmen began. The Carmelite friars abandoned the place because of the Islamic invasion, spreading the order to the kingdoms of Spain.

Where is the festivity of the Virgin of Carmen celebrated?

The festivity of the Virgin of Carmen takes place in different parts of the world such as Spain, Latin America, and in different departments of Peru, Lima, Ancash, Lima, Callao, and Cusco.

In Cusco, the main celebration takes place in the province of Paucartambo, located southeast of the Andes, 4 hours from Cusco. The central day is July 16th; however, the festival extends from July 15th to 18th.

When is the festivity of the Virgin of Carmen?

The feast of the Virgin of Carmen has its main date on July 16th; however, in the Paucartambo festivity, it is celebrated every year for 4 days.

On July 15th, the festivities begin with the "entry" of the troupes. The Maqtas enter on a fire truck, the Qhapaq Qolla from the Qollao region, the Qapaq Ch'uncho enter from the north, the Majeños enter on horseback, and the Chukchus make their entrance on a truck. All this activity represents reverence and fervor.

On July 16th, the central date of the Virgin of Carmen, begins with a dawn mass at the start of the day, followed by the festival mass accompanied by music and dances. After the ceremony, the troupes dance through the streets and squares, where everyone gathers and drops fruits and small objects from the balcony of the municipal library.

It is believed that this day is a day of omens; if the virgin appears rosy, it will be a sign of vitality, and if the virgin shows her pale face, it will be a sign of sorrow.

On July 17th, homage is paid to the carguyoc and members of the troupes who have passed away. In the afternoon, the virgin leaves while visitors and residents await the blessing at the Carlos III bridge.

On July 18th, is the final day; crowds gather to receive blessings, and the troupes bid farewell to the virgin until the next year, safeguarding the virgin in her temple.

Dances of the Virgin of Carmen in Paucartambo

Danzas de la Virgen del Carmen
Danzas de la Virgen del Carmen

The dances are one of the most important attractions of the festival, with a large list of troupes made up of faithful devotees who dance and celebrate in honor of the virgin.

Danzaq

Danzaq is a dance that represents seductive men of young ladies, conquerors of committed women, and consolers of widowed women. Among its characteristics are its size, sensuality, and posture. They carry a stick in their right hand, their garments are colorful, and they wear the image of the virgin on their chest.

Chunchachas

Chunchachas is a dance characterized by being composed of young women who represent the warrior jungle woman; it is a young dance that visits the Virgin from the Kosñipata valley.

Qhapaq Negro

This dance represents slaves brought from the coast of Bolivia and Peru; in its staging and melodies, they demonstrate their suffering before the Virgin of Carmen. The music is entrusted to people who master the violin, accordion, quena, harp, and drum. It is made up of the caporal or black king, soldiers with their captains, and children who will be captains in the future.

Qhapaq Ch'uncho

The Qhapaq Ch'uncho dance represents the warriors of the Kosñipata jungle when they enter the festivity, carrying fruits, parrots, huayruros, and other local products used for exchanges. This troupe plays the role of guardians and is composed of the Chuncho king, followed by 2 rows of dance members, and along with them, the monkey who enlivens the dance with its performance.

The Inti Raymi, known as the Festival of the Sun, is an ancestral celebration of Inca origin that takes place every June 24 in the city of Cusco, Peru. This festival commemorates the sun god, Inti, and represents a deep connection with the cultural and spiritual roots of the Andean peoples.

What is Inti Raymi?

The Inti Raymi, known as the Festival of the Sun, is one of the most important religious celebrations that took place during the time of the Incas, and is still practiced today, the festival is held every June 24 in the archaeological complex of Sacsayhuaman.

This festival is a cultural expression that fuses religious elements, rituals and traditions of the ancient Inca civilization. During Inti Raymi, ceremonies, dances and rituals are performed in honor of the sun, as well as a series of activities that reflect the cultural and spiritual richness of the Andean peoples.

Origins and history of Inti Raymi

The Inti Raymi, or Festival of the Sun, has its roots in the Inca Empire, where a sacred ceremony of thanksgiving to the sun god, Inti, took place. Despite the Spanish ban, it resurfaced in the 20th century as part of the Andean cultural renaissance. Its history reflects the resistance and persistence of indigenous traditions in Peru.

Origin and traditions of Inti Raymi in the Inca Empire

Inti Raymi is deeply rooted in the Inca Empire, reflecting the profound traditions and beliefs of this Andean civilization. Traditionally, this festival was celebrated during the winter solstice. The Incas performed rituals in which they expressed gratitude to the sun for its generosity and asked for its protection for the coming agricultural cycles.

Inti Raymi involved the Inca, his court, priests and shamans in a series of ceremonies in which offerings, dances and music were performed. One of the highlights was the worship of the sun, in which homage was paid to it as the source of life and energy. This festival was not only an expression of religious devotion, but also a social and political event that reinforced the power of the Inca and the unity of the empire.

The Inti Raymi rituals reflected the Incas' deep connection with nature and the cosmos, as well as their understanding of the agricultural cycle and the importance of the sun as a guarantee of fertility and prosperity. Despite the arrival of the Spanish and the banning of Inti Raymi, its legacy persists as an emblematic celebration of Andean identity and culture.

The Spanish ban and the resurgence of Inti Raymi

With the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors and the imposition of Christianity on Inca territory, Inti Raymi was banned due to its pagan nature. However, despite the colonial repression, the memory and traditions of the Inti Raymi were kept alive in the collective imagination of the Andean peoples, being passed down from generation to generation in a clandestine way.

It wasn't until the 20th century, during the process of revalorizing indigenous cultural identity, that the Inti Raymi resurfaced. In the 1940s, intellectuals and indigenous leaders began efforts to recover and revitalize this ancestral festival, which led to the re-establishment and public dissemination of Inti Raymi in the city of Cusco.

The meaning of the Sun in Inti Raymi

The sun, represented by the deity Inti, occupies a central place in Inti Raymi. For the Incas, the sun was not only a source of light and heat, but also the origin of life and the sustenance of all forms of life on earth, in other words, it was their god. In the context of Inti Raymi, the sun symbolizes fertility, abundance and the infinite cycle of nature. Therefore, the celebration of Inti Raymi is an act of veneration and gratitude to this deity, as well as an opportunity to renew the spiritual connection with the cosmos and the earth.

The importance of Inti Raymi for the Andean worldview

Inti Raymi is not only a cultural festival, but also a fundamental component of the Andean cosmovision, which encompasses a holistic view of the world in which nature, human beings and the gods are interconnected. From this perspective, Inti Raymi is a moment of harmony and reciprocity between humanity and the universe, in which the bonds of respect and gratitude towards nature and the divine forces that govern it are renewed.

Inti Raymi celebration today

Inti Raymi is a festival that has its roots in the Inca culture and is dedicated to the sun god or Inti. Although it was suppressed during Spanish colonization, it has resurfaced and with greater force, as it is celebrated today, especially in Peru - Cusco (Sacsayhuaman Archaeological Park), where the cradle of the Inca civilization was located.

Inti Raymi 2024: what you need to know

Inti Raymi is one of Peru's most important festivities, attracting thousands of national and international visitors every year. The 2024 edition of Inti Raymi promises to be a unique experience, full of color, music and tradition. The organizers have prepared a special program that includes ancestral ceremonies, theatrical performances, folk dance parades and samples of traditional gastronomy.

Dates and duration of the Fiesta del Sol

Inti Raymi is celebrated every June 24, coinciding with the winter solstice in the southern hemisphere. The festival lasts several days, with events running from June 21 to 24. During this period, various activities take place in and around the city of Cusco, offering visitors the chance to immerse themselves in Andean culture and witness the magic of Inti Raymi.

Emblematic scenes of Inti Raymi in Cusco

The Inti Raymi staging takes place on three stages in the city of Cusco.

Qorikancha: The Temple of the Sun

The Qorikancha, also known as the Temple of the Sun, is one of the most emblematic places to celebrate Inti Raymi in Cusco. This archaeological site was the main temple dedicated to sun worship during the Inca Empire and still preserves traces of its splendid past. During Inti Raymi, Qorikancha becomes the perfect setting for ritual ceremonies in honor of the sun; in this case, it becomes the first stage and is held on June 24 in the early hours of the morning.

primer escenario Qoricancha

Cusco's Plaza de Armas

Cusco's Plaza de Armas is another focal point of the Inti Raymi celebration, where the mayor of Cusco meets and takes part in the festivities. Here, too, there is a presentation of what Inti Raymi is all about, with colorful parades, theatrical performances and displays of folkloric dances, which attract tourists and locals alike.

Fortress of Sacsayhuamán

The imposing Sacsayhuaman Fortress, located on the outskirts of Cusco, is the main stage where the central performance of Inti Raymi takes place. With its imposing stone walls and majestic architecture, this fortress provides an impressive backdrop for the ceremonies and rituals that take place during the festival.

After presenting in Qoricancha and the Plaza Mayor you come here, visitors can witness the recreation of ancient Inca rituals, such as the offering to the sun and the worship ceremony, in itself visualizes the whole recreation of this festival.

Inti Raymi program and activities

The Inti Raymi program includes a wide variety of cultural and recreational activities designed to celebrate the richness and diversity of Andean heritage. Highlights include theatrical performances at Qorikancha, folkloric dance parades in the Plaza de Armas and the staging with the mayor of Cusco, then ascending and witnessing the main ceremony at the Sacsayhuaman Fortress. In addition, visitors can enjoy art exhibitions, craft fairs and traditional food tastings.

Characters and symbolisms of Inti Raymi

We will detail some of the characters that will participate during the Inti Raymi:

The Inca and the Coya

During the celebration of Inti Raymi, the Inca and the Coya play prominent roles as representatives of Inca royalty.

The Inca, as supreme ruler, presides over the ceremonies and rituals in honor of the sun, while the Coya, his wife, accompanies him in this act of veneration. Both characters symbolize the connection between the people and their rulers, as well as the sacred relationship between humanity and the cosmos.

Ancestral dances and rituals

Ancestral dances and rituals are essential elements of Inti Raymi, as they represent the artistic and spiritual expression of the Andean peoples, presenting a variety of dances that have a deep symbolic meaning and are imbued with ancient traditions. Through their movements, the dancers honor the gods, celebrate nature and express the cultural identity of their communities.

The role of women in the Sun Festival

Women play a fundamental role in Inti Raymi, both as active participants in the ceremonies and dances, as well as in the preservation and transmission of cultural traditions. During the festival, women often wear colorful and elaborate traditional costumes that reflect the ethnic and cultural diversity of the Andean region. In addition, many women occupy important roles as priestesses, shamans and community leaders, contributing to the enrichment and continuity of Andean culture.

Celebration of Inti Raymi in Cusco

The Inti Raymi Celebration in Cusco is an ancestral festival that pays homage to the sun, considered a deity in the Inca worldview. It takes place every June 24 in the esplanade of Sacsayhuaman, during the ceremony, rituals of gratitude for the harvest are performed and the beginning of the new solar cycle is commemorated. It is a living sample of the rich cultural and spiritual heritage of the Peruvian people.

Where is Inti Raymi Celebrated?

The Inti Raymi is celebrated mainly in the city of Cusco, exactly in the Sacsayhuaman Archaeological Park, an important cultural center nowadays.

When is Inti Raymi celebrated in Cusco?

Inti Raymi is celebrated every year on June 24, coinciding with the winter solstice in the southern hemisphere. The festivities begin days before, with a series of previous events that culminate in the main ceremony on the appointed day.

Schedule of activities

The schedule of Inti Raymi activities varies from year to year, but generally includes a series of religious ceremonies, theatrical performances, dance parades, gastronomic displays and cultural events in different parts of the city. Specific details of the program are usually announced in advance by local authorities and event organizers.

Where to buy tickets?

Tickets for Inti Raymi are usually available for purchase online through official websites, as well as at authorized points of sale in Cusco and other nearby cities. It is recommended to purchase tickets in advance, as demand is usually high during this time of year. Entradas Inti Raymi

Attending Inti Raymi with a tourism agency

Many visitors choose to attend the Inti Raymi through specialized tourism agencies, which offer complete packages that include transportation, lodging, tour guides and tickets to the events. These agencies facilitate the organization of the trip and guarantee an enriching and smooth experience for tourists.

Frequently asked questions about Inti Raymi

If you have any doubts, you can find them here:

What to bring? Recommendations to attend the Inti Raymi

  1. Arrive early to secure a good spot.
  2. Dress comfortably and warmly, as temperatures may be low.
  3. Wear sunscreen and a hat due to prolonged exposure to the sun.
  4. Respect local rules and traditions during the celebration.
  5. Avoid carrying unnecessary valuables.
  6. Stay hydrated by carrying water.
  7. Respect the space and beliefs of participants and locals.

How long does Inti Raymi last?

The Inti Raymi lasts from an hour and a half to two hours.

Importance of Inti Raymi

Inti Raymi is a festival of great cultural and spiritual importance for the Andean peoples, as it represents the connection with their ancestral roots and the celebration of nature and the cosmos.

When and where is Inti Raymi celebrated?

The Inti Raymi is celebrated every year on June 24 in the city of Cusco, and the main event is staged in the archaeological park of Sacsayhuaman.

Can I take pictures and videos during Inti Raymi?

Yes, it is generally permitted to take photographs and videos during Inti Raymi, as long as the restrictions and regulations established by local authorities and event organizers are respected.

Special tourist packages for Inti Raymi

Precisely, these days we offer special packages designed specifically for the Inti Raymi, which include accommodation, transportation, tour guides and entrance fees to archaeological sites. These packages facilitate the planning of the trip and guarantee an unforgettable experience for visitors.

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