Come join us to celebrate one of the most vibrant and lively festivals in South America during your exclusive Peru tour! The Feast of Corpus Christi is celebrated throughout Peru, but it is at its most festive in Cusco. This feast is a celebration of the Eucharist: the Spanish conquistadors introduced it to the indigenous Andean population in the 16th century. Perhaps, it is a way to counter the Incan celebration of Inti Raymi, which follows soon after and is another of Cusco’s great festivals. Today the city celebrates both holidays, in the colorful and raucous manner that characterizes this wild and magical high Andean city.
This vibrant celebration occurs annually in May or June, coming 60 days after Easter Sunday, and this year it will take place on Thursday, June 20th. The incoming parades begin in the early hours of the morning, as elaborately decorated Saints and Sacred Virgin icons are brought to the Plaza de Armas from various church parishes around the city. Gorgeously costumed groups of musicians and dancers accompany the Saints, as traffic coming into downtown is blocked to make way. They all converge on the Main Square, where the Saints are paraded around and exhibited to the attending masses.
After the parade around the Main Square, the icons are hosted in the Cathedral for a week, after which they are returned to their respective parishes on the eighth day. More parades are in order as the statues are borne with great ceremony back to their usual homes.
If you wish to join in the festivities during your exclusive Peru tour, we will happily arrange for a private guide to accompany you. Expect the main square to be quite crowded! If you want to get more of a bird’s eye view of the events, there are various cantinas and eateries around the plaza that offer a perfect view from their upstairs balconies.
There is a special meal that accompanies the Corpus Christi celebration, known as Chiriuchu, which literally means “cold dish,” as it is served at room temperature and eaten with your hands. Served mainly in Cusco and its surrounds, this dish consists of a little of everything from all around Peru: foods from land, sea. It is a plate made to celebrate the diversity of products available from all over the country, and may have originated during Inca times as a way to bring different indigenous communities together to serve up their specialties. Chiriuchu includes chicken, sausage, torrejas (savory cornmeal or quinoa pancakes), fish roe, seaweed, cuy (guinea pig), corn on the cob, jerky, Andean cheese, and brightly colored red or orange rocoto peppers.
During your luxury trip to Peru, you can try Chiriuchu at La Cusqueñita Restaurant on Avenida Centenario, located about a kilometer from the Main Square. Another option, if you like street food and are feeling adventurous, is to buy a platter of this “something for everyone” meal from one of the many food booths that will be set up throughout the city around Cusco’s various plazas during Corpus Christi week. Or you can take a taxi up to Sacsayhuaman, where families will gather together to celebrate, eat Chiriuchu, and enjoy a beer… or three.
June is definitely the month to enjoy festivals in Cusco: Corpus Christi is shortly followed by the Inca Feast of Inti Raymi on June 24th. Basically, the whole town will be one gigantic party starting the third week of June. Come join in the fun with Kuoda, your personalized travel agency in Peru.