Heirs of native and European cultures, Peruvians celebrate a wide variety of festivals and traditions that are part of their immortal cultural heritage.
A series of events and festivals throughout the year give color and flavor to the days, with celebrations that, between vibrant dances and acts of deep religious devotion, fill the life with passion and joy.
It is worth taking a look at the calendar of the main celebrations before planning a trip to Peru, to take advantage of the opportunity to participate in spectacular events with a unique flavor.
Holy Week in Ayacucho
There are many cities in Peru where Easter week is celebrated with great participation and euphoria. Among the main cities are Catacaos, Lamas, Arequipa and Cuzco, but a special religious fervor is perceived in Ayacucho.
Holy Week in Ayacucho is the second largest in the world, after the one in Seville, Spain.
Processions, parades and festivals, which combine Andean beliefs with Christian devotion, encourage, throughout Holy Week, the streets of this city with a constantly spring weather.
Located in the heart of the Peruvian Andes, Ayacucho is also famous for the pilgrimage of its 33 churches, a number that refers to the years of Jesus Christ.
For ten days, people of all ages went to the streets, giving life to vocal and colorful meetings, which surprised the spectators.
The virgin of the candelaria
Puno, a city located at 3800 meters above sea level on Lake Titicaca, is considered the folk capital of Peru.
The expression of traditional customs and traditions reaches its peak every year in February, when the imposing celebration of the feast of the Virgen de la Vela, or Candelaria, comes alive.
The feast of the Virgen de la Candelaria includes religious and cultural events that have their roots in Catholic traditions and in the symbolic elements of the vision of the Andean cosmos.
It is one of the main celebrations of Peru, which lasts 18 days during which more than 200 typical dances are presented.
The Sun Festival or Inti Raymi
If you plan to visit Machu Picchu and Cuzco, keep in mind that the Inti Raymi or Sun Festival is celebrated on June 24.
The largest, most important and spectacular celebration of the Inca era, which marked the beginning of the new calendar year in Tahuantinsuyo (Quechua name of the Inca Empire).
During this event, which coincides with the winter solstice in the southern hemisphere, the locals celebrate the return of the sun with a series of shows, dances and demonstrations with traditional clothes.
Folklore that has its epicenter in the Inca fortress of Sacsayhuaman, which dominates the sacred city of Cuzco from above.
San Juan, the Jungle Festival
June 24 is also the day when the Amazon rainforest is celebrated San Juan, the Catholic celebration in honor of San Juan Bautista, patron of the Amazon.
It is a large and colorful religious celebration that takes place mainly in the regions of Madre de Dios, Loreto, San Martín and Ucayali.
The day before, the inhabitants of the forest went to their respective rivers to immerse themselves in its waters and thus participate in a purifying bath, which is believed to bring happiness, health and work as a gift throughout the year.
The San Juan festival is above all a celebration that allows you to enjoy the excellent dishes of the Amazonian culinary tradition, such as the classic Juane, wild dance and typical music until dawn.
For more information read: Madre de Dios.
The carnaval of Cajamarca.
As in all of South America, even in Peru, carnival is a particularly sincere and hectic celebration, which finds its highest expression in the colonial city of Cajamarca.
The month of February, one of the hottest of the Peruvian year, marks the beginning of the carnival, which means many parties, parades, but also a lot of water.
Since one of the typical customs of the carnivals of Peru is to throw balloons and buckets full of water, and nobody is saved.
In Cajamarca, tourists can appreciate the typical dances around the Yunsa tree, a kind of cuckoo tree adorned with ribbons, toys and other decorations.
There are also several beauty, strength and skill contests.
Other places worth visiting during the carnival weeks are Iquitos, Puno and Rioja.
Other great festivals and events.
Peru has established itself in recent years as the venue for important international events such as:
• the Marinera festival,
• the Mistura gastronomic festival
• The Dakar Rally.
Considered the most important gastronomic fair in Latin America, Mistura allows local and foreign tourists to know and immerse themselves in the sensations, flavors and colors of a multifaceted festival in which Peruvian cuisine is the queen.
The Dakar Rally moved to South America for a few years due to threats of terrorism in African territory.
Today it brings its competitors to compete in the desert dunes of Peru, where the 2019 edition will be held in its entirety, which will begin in the first days of January.
Other important dates to consider are July 28 and 29, days when the national holiday of Peru or Independence Day is celebrated.
The country is getting closer and closer to the bicentennial of its modern foundation, scheduled for 2021, which will be the occasion for celebrations with great joy.