Holy Week, Semana Santa, is here and is honor of one of the most exciting times of the year on the Peruvian calendar let’s breakdown what you can expect throughout the country.
At first you might find it ironic that so much partying is done during such a holy period, but the thinking goes that since Christ is now dead and has not yet risen, there is no such thing as sin. As a result Peruvians take the time to party to the limits until Easter Sunday, the day of Christ’s resurrection. Although many events will be taking place in Lima’s plazas and museums including sacred art exhibits and religious concerts, the most avid followers will flock to cities of the Peruvian Andres, Ayacucho and Cusco, where traditional celebrations vibrate the most.
In Cusco the focus on feasting and music and dance brings many travelers to the Incan Empire capital. Quite contrary to other places around the world the inhabitants of Cusco do not fast on Good Friday but instead they feast, where the tradition is to prepare 12 dishes. On Monday of each holy week the Lord of Tremors is taken out of the cathedral and a procession follows. It is said that The Black Christ put a stop to the aftershocks of a devastating earthquake in 1650 and has been the city’s patron saint ever since.
The greatest celebrations of Semana Santa take place in Ayacucho. A full week of nonstop pageantry and celebrations makes this city the country’s premier destination during this time. The devout locals put in weeks of preparation to bring the grandest presentation of folkloric dances, concerts, art shows, agricultural expositions and traditional foods. The city itself is decorated with
flower pedals in religious design as well as streamers and confetti that
give a religious feel throughout.
Each day includes a procession where participants show their devotion. The Lady of Our Sorrows procession takes place on the Friday before Palm Sunday. While on Easter itself, church bells are rung simultaneously throughout the city before an immense pyramid like structure with a statue of Jesus at the top is paraded through the city.
Although not everyone will be able to make the trip to the holier cities of Ayacucho and Cusco, there will be no shortage of celebration no matter where you are in Peru.