Around 3,000 folk
festivals are carried out in Peru every year. Most
of them are dedicated to a patron saint within the
Christian calendar imposed during the Spanish
Vice-regency. The celebrations go hand-in-hand with
a busy program of activities that include mass,
processions, pilgrimages, dancing, folk dances, arts
and crafts shows, agricultural fairs and other shows
that blend spirituality and vitality. Below we have
tried to make a selection of the most meaningful
festivals in Peru, chosen for their tourist
popularity, geographic reach and unique character.
Let us know about your interests and we will design
a tailor made program, that suit your expectations.
FESTIVAL OF THE MARINERA - JANUARY 20 Trujillo [La
marinera is one of the most elegant dances in Peru.
The dance involves a great deal of flirting between
a couple, who each twitch a handkerchief in their
right hand while keeping the beat during what is
fairly complex coreography.
Trujillo holds the
country´s most important marinera competition, that
draws couples from all over the country.
During the festival,
the city also hosts processions involving floats and
the whole town takes on a festive air.
The people of Trujillo
gather at the main square to dance and celebrate.
OF THE CANDELARIA - FEBRUARY 1-14 Puno
fill the streets of Puno, nestled on the shores of
Lake Titikaka, for several days in February.
They perform old
dances in colorful costumes. For 18 days the
highland city becomes the Folk Capital of the
The festival gathers
more than 200 groups of musicians and dancers to
celebrate the Mamapacha Candelaria.
The virgin is led
through the city in a colorful procession. The dance
of the demons or diablada is the main dance of the
OF THE EARTHQUAKES - SECOND HALF OF MARCH - 1st week
of April CUSCO
since 1650, when the faithful claim that an oil
painting of Christ on the Cross held off a devasting
earthquake that was rattling the city of Cusco, the
locals have been honoring the image of Taitacha
Temblores, the Lord of the Earthquakes.
The image used today
was donated by King Charles V and despite centuries
of smoke from candles and incense, no one has dared
to restore the blackened painting, that given the
Christ a somber aspect and a dark countenance.
The Lord of the
Earthquakes is taken out in procession through the
streets of the city just as the Incas used to parade
the mummies of their high priests and high rulers.
This celebration is of particular interest because
it allows onlookers to get a glimpse of the fusion
of Andean religions and Christianity.
FESTIVAL OF THE PERUVIAN HORSE -Third week in April
Spanish horse, bred with the Arab stallion and
reared in a desert environment, which formed ist
gait, gave rise to the Peruvian Paso horse. Over 450
years of selective breeding have gone into
developing the characteristics that have made the
Peruvian Paso Horse one of the world´s most
beautiful and elegant breeds. With its four-beat
lateral gait, the Peruvian horse gives its rider the
smoothest ride in the world.
The most important
contest takes place in Mamacona, a tourist resort at
a walking distance from the Pachacamac ruins (30 km
south of Lima). There is also a wonderful exhibition
of these horses.
PILGRIMAGE TO THE SNOW PEAKS OF QOYLLORITY - First
week in June - Cusco - Quispicanchi
Rit'i means star of the snows. It's a festival that
combines masses in a Catholic church with a solemn
moonlit trek up to a dangerous glacier, to pay
homage to the Apus, the mountain gods of the Incas.
Many are asking him for earthly blessings, houses,
jobs, cure of an illness. Many want redress in some
personal grievance; Christ is a god of Justice in
the Andean version of Christianity. The main
ceremony is held at the foot of Mount Ausangate, at
4,600 meters (15,090 ft), lands with holy water from
often plunge below freezing. The ritual bring
thousands of pilgrims It takes place on the moveable
feast of Trinity Sunday, through the following
Tuesday, usually in late May or early June. More
than 10,000 pilgrims climb to the snowline,
accompanied by all sorts of dancers in full costume.
The ukukus or bears, dress in wool masks and shaggy
tunics, are the guardians of the Lord and the Apu
mountain spirits, they maintain order during
religious ceremonies. On their way back down to
their communities, pilgrims haul massive blocks of
ice on their backs for the simbolic irrigation of
Festival of the sun – The INTIRAYMI -JUNE 24 - Cusco
year on the 24th of June Cusco celebrates the
festival of Inti Raymi, the winter solstice, in the
southern hemisphere. Inti Raymi was the most
majestic and greatest festival of the Inca empire to
honor the sun god. Today, the Inti Raymi evokes the
splendid Inca ritual of yore, being carefully
scripted by Cusco professors, archaeologists and
historians. For more than half a century the
festival takes place at the fortress of Sacsayhuaman
(2 km outside Cusco). There, step by step, thousands
of actors proudly bring the past alive, giving
thanks to sun god. The Inti Raymi starts in the
square in front of the Qorikancha,also known as the
The Sapa Inca honors,
with an eloquently strong voice, the blessings of
the Sun and this most sacred day. After this
initiation the procession moves with imperial
dignity to the Sacsayhuaman. At the top the Inca is
carried on a royal litter. At the fortress the high
priest performed the llama sacrifice offering a
black and white llama. With a sharp ceremonial
golden knife called " Tumi" he had to open the
animal's chest. With his hands pulled out its
throbbing heart, lungs and viscera, so that
observing those elements he could predict the
future. Later, the animal and its parts were
completely incinerated. After the sacrifice, the
High Priest had to produce the "Sacred Fire".
Staying in front of the Sun he had to get its rays
in a concave gold medallion that contained some soft
or oily material in order to produce the fire that
had to be kept during next year in the Qorikancha
and Aqllawasi. Once that all ritual stages of the
Inti Raymi were finished, all the attendants were
located in the southwestern Plaza's sector named "Kusipata"
(Plaza del Regocijo) where after being nourished,
people were entertained with music, dances and
CORPUS CHRISTI PROCESSION – JUNE - Cusco
festival of Corpus Christi has been celebrated all
over Peru since colonial times, but reaches a high
point in Cusco. Fifteen saints and virgins from
various districts are borne in a procession to the
Cathedral where they "greet" the body of Christ
embodied in the Sacred Host, kept in a fabulous gold
goblet weighing 26 kilos and standing 1.2 meters
high. All the figures are dress with elegant
clothes, as well as gold and silver jewellery and
are always accompanied by music bands, dancers and
The Corpus Christi is held between May and June, 60
days after Easter. In the main square people raise
very big altars adorned with mirrors, flags,
flowers, tree branches, some images, etc.
In ancient times those
altars were more numerous and showy, adorned with
silver frontals, Cusquenian school paintings,
statues, etc. Near the main square many merchants
place their typical food stands for attendants to
the "entrance", where the traditional "Chiri Uchu"
or "Cold Chili" is served; some other stands also
serve pork "chicharrones", "anticuchos" (skewered
cow-heart), etc.; and of course, industrial amounts
of beer and chicha. After the entrance of images
into the Cathedral, people will eat and drink at the
INDEPENDENCE DAY OF PERU - JULY 28-29 - Peru
July 28 and 29 all Peru celebrates the independence
of its country. On the night of July 27, Peruvians
often stage serenatas to the strains of folk and
Creole music in plazas (main squares) and public
On the following day,
before the famous military parade is held in
downtown Lima, the Te Deum ceremony attended by the
president, is celebrated in the Lima Cathedral.
The Feria del Hogar,
the biggest commercial fair and the Feria de La
Molina, a well-known international music festival,
open during these days.
Famous national and
foreign artists are invited to participate. In
various parts of the country, Peruvian also hold
agricultural and livestock fairs. (Cajamarca, Piura,
OF THE MIRACLES PROCESIÓN (SEÑOR DE LOS MILAGROS) -
OCTOBER 18-28 - Lima
October 18, 19 and 28, one the most multitudinary
processions worldwide takes place. The procession
dates back to colonial times, when a slave drew the
image of a black Christ on the walls of a wretched
hut in the plantation of Pachacamilla, near Lima.
The famous image has remained intact in spite of
time, earthquakes and other cataclysms. As a result
worship of the image rose to new heights, until it
became the largest procession in South America.
During the whole month
the litter is taken in a trailer to distant places
throughout the city followed by ten of thousands
pilgrims dress in purple tunics. Around this time of
year, the streets fill with vendors of a wide
variety of typical dishes a sweets, such as the
famous Turron de Doña Pepa. In October to
commemorate the Lord of Miracles (Señor de los
Milagros) Lima hosts the well-known bullfight season
in which the best toreros in the world participate.
It takes place in the centuries-old Plaza de Acho