Commencing this year on Sunday 14th April with Domingo de Ramos and ending on Saturday 20th April, Semana Santa marks Holy Week in Peru. One of the most important occasions in the country’s religious calendar, Semana Santa consists of a seven day celebration, with residents and tourists coming together to enjoy local food, culture and festivities.
Although the festival takes place all over the country, Semana Santa holds particular importance in the city of Cusco. Although the festival officially begins on Domingo de Ramos, for Cusco’s residents, the most notable celebrations occur the following day.
Monday 15th April is dedicated to El Senor de los Temblores (Lord of the Earthquakes), a saint who is credited with saving the residents of Cusco from an earthquake in 1650. On the day itself, a figure of the saint is carried through the ancient streets, beginning at Plaza De Armas, a short walk from Inkaterra La Casona. Tourists and locals alike descend on the square, where the saint is draped with red nucchu flowers before being taken on a procession followed by a crowd of thousands.
Another key element of Semana Santa is the feasting. As many prepare to break the fast they have undertaken throughout the week, Maundy Thursday sees the preparation of 12 local delicacies, served to commemorate Jesus´ Last Supper and the 12 disciples. With savoury dishes made from local plants and vegetables as well as fish, and puddings and desserts such as sweet empanadas and mazamorra morada (prepared with purple corn), there is something to suit all tastes.
With spiritual processions taking place, parades in traditional costumes and ancient Incan traditions being blended with local culture and modern influences, a visit to Cusco during Semana Santa will be a Peruvian experience like no other.
If you would like to know more about Inkaterra La Casona, please click here