The city of Cusco isn’t just characterized by its impressive legacy of architecture and archeology. Temples, strongholds, palaces, churches, museums and streets are admired by thousands of tourists who visit this majestic city year after year. However, probably not very many tourists know exactly just how impressive the infinite traditions, customs and parties are that bring Cusquenians together in a huge way all year long.
Yes, all year. Maybe it’s a bit uncomfortable when fireworks wake you up at 6:00 AM, but in this moment, when explosions in the sky startle you, remember that it’s a symbol of people’s joy and the resistance of a culture that’s survived bloody discrimination for 500 years.
And how did the Andean culture survive after colonization? Well, they did it by blending themselves intelligently with the culture brought from Spain. Ancient Andean people were able to send secret messages through their celebrations that on the outside were Catholic but on the inside maintained codes and symbols that are deeply Andean.
It’s because of this that every January 20th, there’s celebration in the traditional district of San Sebastian (6 km from the Plaza de Armas of Cusco) of the festival of their patron saint accompanied by delicious, traditional food, dances, euphoria and a series of traditions that will truly surprise you. Saint Sebastian was a French martyr of astounding beauty who was persecuted for his Christian faith and shot through by an arrow, naked, after being tied to a tree. In Andean culture, Saint Sebastian is the representation of Amazonian warriors, and he’s considered to have come from the region of Antisuyu. Because of this, he’s always watched over by the Qhapaq ch’unchus.
To continue, we want to show you 8 impressive photos to display the beauty and colors of this festival.
Whenever you get here, find out about the festivals happening, and visit them without a doubt. Make friends, and feel within yourself the true spirit of the Andean culture. See you there!