If you are thinking about traveling to Cusco in the next few months, you can’t miss the cultural activities that are still to be celebrated up until the end of the year. You could enjoy traditional festivities like Warachikuy that takes place in Sacsayhuaman, Santurantikuy that is held in the Plaza de Armas, and other celebrations that allow you to get to know a little bit more about cultural heart of the Imperial City.
Take a look at this list that we’ve put together about the traditions that we have in Cusco during the next few months so that you miss a single detail. A lot of these activities will leave you wanting to live in Cusco .
SEÑOR DE HUANCA
The pilgrimage or walk to the Sanctuary of Señor de Huanca takes place from the 7th till the 21st of September, but the central day is the on the 14th. On this day, the devoted people come from various parts of Peru and the world, walking from Cusco until they reach the temple of Señor de Huanca. Inside the temple, you can see the image of Jesus Christ painted on stone. The painting is over 300 years old.
The Sanctuary of Señor de Huanca is found in the province of Calca, approximately 50 kilometres out of Cusco on the skirt of the sacred mountain Pachatusan and in the middle of a lot of vegetation. The climate in the area during this period is very warm, which is very inviting to make you want to make the walk through the middle of nature.
How to get there
- In Cusco there is a custom to walk from the district of San Jeronimo until you get to the sanctuary itself. The walk is difficult and takes around 6 to 8 hours. For this reason, if you decide to take this option, you need to take necessary precautions.
- The other option is to take a bus that leaves from the door of the Coliseo Cerrado or IPD in Cusco that will take you to the district of San Salvador in a maximum of one and half hours. After which you will need to make a short walk to the sanctuary.
Warachikuy is an Incan ceremony in which the youngsters had to pass rigorous challenges of value to demonstrate that they were men apt of occupying a place in the administration of Tahuantinsuyo or going to war. Nowadays the young students of the Glorioso Colegio Nacional de Ciencias (National School) are in charge of performing a display of the rigorous challenges, as well as the traditional dances that are present during the ceremony.
This activity takes place on the 15th of September in 2 places. First, it begins in the Plaza de Armas and after in the esplanade of Sacsayhuaman. It’s lovely to see the display because it feels like you have travelled back in time to the age of the Incas, where you just need to let it envelope you with the ritual music and magnificent images that these youngsters provoke.
How to get there
In these two options that we present to you, you should keep in mind that to enter the esplanade in Sacsayhuaman you do need to have an entrance ticket.
- You can walk from the Plaza de Armas, passing by San Cristobal and after keep walking to the esplanade in Sacsayhuaman. The walk should take between 45 minutes to an hour.
- You can take one of the buses that leave from the front of Garcilaso College that will take you up to Cristo Blanco, and then you will need to take a short walk.
TODOS LOS SANTOS (ALL SAINTS)
This is a festival that takes place in many parts of the world, and of course, like always, in Cusco we have a unique way of celebrating. On the 1st of November we remember the Day of the Living, and the next day, the Day of the Dead. A majority of people in Cusco visit the cemeteries during these days, but in a special way. They take food, drinks, and even music to their dead loved ones. They don’t look on it as a time of sadness, but as an opportunity to remember their loved ones.
Something that you can enjoy during this period is the gastronomy. On these days you can enjoy some very sweet desserts, the traditional and exquisite plate of Lechon (piglets accompanied by a tamal and moraya potatoes), and also see something extremely rare, the baptism of the ‘Wawa’ breads. These breads can be up to 18 or 20 metres long, and are baptized in fun and hilarious ways.
Where to see these activities
- To enjoy the baptism of the ‘Wawas’ and the exquisite food it’s not difficult in November, because these activities take place in a majority of the plazas in the districts of Cusco. Near the centre of the city you can see them in the Plaza San Francisco or Plaza de Armas.
Christmas is one of the happiest times of the year, and in Cusco you can feel the good atmosphere with the strong smell of incense, the aroma of chocolate, panetones, and turkey. But the most special part of this time is that you can see a huge variety of artisan products and traditional objects that have been elaborated by the hands of the artisans of Cusco and the great fair of Santurantikuy.
This fair takes place in the Plaza de Armas in Cusco and you will find a variety of precious traditional artisan products like the little ‘Manuelitos’ that have been made with the face of an angel or animals in all sizes and materials, traditional clothes, silver jewellery, articles for homes with images of Cusco, and much more. This giant fair takes place on the 24th of December.
If you are in Cusco during these months, you have some options to get to know a little more about the rich culture that the city has to offer. Pack your bags and enjoy these experiences!