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Peruvian Festivals and Rituals on March

Marinera Festival


Wine Festival

Peruvian Paso Horse Festival

Festival of the Holy Crosses

Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Protectors of the Peruvian Fishermen

Independence Day

Saint Rose of Lima and America

Spring Festival

Lord of Miracles

All Saints, Day of the Death (Halloween next day)







: All over Peru
Date: 2nd half of February - 1st week of March

Peruvian carnivals are marked by the festive character of Andean areas, which regularly break with their solemn traditions. Beyond regional variations, a common characteristic of nearly the entire highland chain is the ritual of the yunza, called umisha in the jungle and cortamonte on the coast. It involves artificially planting a tree trunk laden with gifts, around which the guests dance until it is chopped with a machete or an ax. The couple who make the final hack that brings down the tree will then both be in charge of organizing the yunza next year.

Peruvians across the country are extremely fond of tossing buckets of water at each other during this festival, so onlookers would be wise to take precautions. Cities where carnivals reach a high point include Cajamarca and Puno.

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Lunahuana Adventure Sports Festival

: Cañete, Lima
Date: March 1st week

The pleasant valley of Lunahuana, a paradise for adventure sports lovers, is just half an hour from San Vicente de Cañete, a town 150 km south of Lima. The main attraction is the fast-running Cañete River, which features rapids up to Class IV. Each year, the valley hosts a festival involving rafting, parasailing, trekking, gliding, mountain biking and fishing competitions.

A visit to Lunahuana is a first-rate excuse to take in the nearby archaeological site of Incahuasi and the hanging bridge of Catapalla. Other attractions include wine-tasting at local vineyards and the exotic regional cuisine, such as conejos a la carapulcra (spicy jugged hare) and cuy al vino (guinea pig braised in wine).

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La Vendimia, Peruvian Wine Festival

: Ica
Date: March 2nd week

This festival is a celebration of the abundance of grapes and wine in the region of Ica (a four-hour drive south of Lima), where persevering efforts in local vineyards have spread greenery across vast tracts of once bone-dry desert.

The Wine Festival (Festival de la Vendimia) involves fairs, competitions, processions of floats, musical festivals and parties where guests dance the Afro-Peruvian festejo.

One of the major attractions of the event is the Queen of the Wine Festival beauty pageant. Accompanied by her hand-maidens, the beauty queen treads grapes in a vat in the time-honored tradition to extract the juice that will eventually be fermented. Apart from the delicious local sweets known as tejas, made from pecans or candied fruits, filled with caramel and covered with sugar icing, those attending the event can try pisco, the aromatic and tasty grape brandy that originated in this part of southern Peru four centuries ago.

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Crosses of Porcon , Cruces de Porcon

: Porcon, Cajamarca
Date: 2nd half of March - 1st week of April

Weaving through the early mists that still shroud the highlands just before dawn, an impressive procession of huge, colorful wooden crosses progresses down the valley of Porcón to celebrate the triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem.

Unlike other Easter Week celebrations, the one in this fun-loving village located half an hour by road from the city of Cajamarca does not dwell on the death of Christ. On the main day of the festival, Palm Sunday, four different ceremonies are held: the crowning of the crosses, the greeting of the Lord at the home of the mayordomo (the person in charge of organizing the festivities), the various responses sung in Quechua and Latin, and finally the procession to the plantation chapel.

The crosses are decorated with round and oval-shaped mirrors symbolizing the souls of the dead, as well as figures representing the Virgin Mary, the Heart of Jesus and a wealth of symmetrically placed patron saints forming a huge rhomboid. The locals hang metal bells from the corners to announce the arrival of the crosses to the community. During the imposing procession of the crosses, angels dressed out in turquoise, yellow and pink, stride ahead, hanging onto the señorca, the donkey carrying the Lord of the Palms.

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Easter Week

: Ayacucho
Date: 2nd half of March - 1st week of April

Easter week represents the peak of religious sentiment for the people of the Andes. The departmental capital of Ayacucho, San Cristóbal de Huamanga, located in the central Andes at an altitude of 2,761 meters above sea level, celebrates one of the most intense portrayals of the passion, death and resurrection of Christ.

The week starts out with the entry of Jesus into the city riding on a donkey. On Wednesday, the images of the Virgin Mary and Saint John are paraded in fervent processions through streets carpeted with flower petals until they meet up with the litter bearing the image of Christ, whom they "greet" in the main square. On the evening of Holy Friday, the lights of the city wink out to give way to the Christ of Calvary. The image sets out from the Monastery of Santa Clara in a procession through the streets on a litter strewn with white roses, followed by the grieving Virgin Mary and lines of men and women strictly dressed in mourning bearing lit candles. The litter, which features thousands of white candles, is simply magnificent.

The litter is then accompanied with prayers and songs throughout the night until the three-hour sermon is delivered on Saturday. After days of grieving, Resurrection Sunday takes on a festive air, Christ is resurrected and appears once more on his litter and is carried through the streets.

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Lord of Earthquakes - Señor de los Temblores

: Cusco
Date: 2nd half of March - 1st week of April

Ever since 1,650, when the faithful claim that an oil painting of Christ on the Cross held off a devastating earthquake that was rattling the city of Cuzco, the locals have been rendering homage to the image of Taitacha Temblores, the Lord of the Earthquakes. The celebration is held on Easter Monday against the backdrop of Easter Week in the city of Cuzco.

This celebration is of particular interest because it allows onlookers to get a glimpse of the fusion of Andean religions and Christianity. The Cuzco Cathedral, where the image is kept, is built on the foundations of the ancient temple dedicated to the pagan god Apulla Tikse Wiracocha.

The image of the Lord of Earthquakes is borne aloft in a procession through the streets of the city just as the Incas used to parade the mummies of their chieftains, high priests and supreme rulers. In the end, the dominating part of the celebration involves the ñucchu flower (salvia esplendes), used as an offering to the ancient gods Kon and Wiracocha.

The same flower today is used to weave a crown for the Lord of the Earthquakes. This crimson colored flower, whose petals are scattered by the faithful over the venerated image, symbolizes the blood of Christ.

The image used today was donated by King Charles V, and despite centuries of smoke from the candles and incense, no one has dared to restore the blackened painting, that has given the Christ a somber aspect and a dark countenance.

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Photos PromPeru

carnival in cajamarca
rafting in Lunahuana
peruavian pisco
Crosses of Porcon
Easter Week

Photos courtesy of CuscoPeru

Lord of Earthquakes
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