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Peruvian Festivals and Rituals on June

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)






Corpus Christi in Peru

: Cusco
Date: June (Movable Feast)

The festival of Corpus Christi has been celebrated all over Peru since colonial times, but reaches a high point in Cuzco. Fifteen saints and virgins from various districts are borne in a procession to the Cathedral where they "greet" the body of Christ embodied in the Sacred Host, kept in a fabulous gold goblet weighing 26 kilos and standing 1.2 meters high.

Sixty days after Easter Sunday, the members of each nearby church bear their patron saint in a procession to the chimes of the Maria Angola, Peru's largest church bell, forged in a copper-gold alloy in the sixteenth century by local artisan Diego Arias de Cerda.

At night everyone gathers together, for an overnight vigil, where typical dishes such as chiriuchu (spicy guinea pig), beer, chicha and cornbread are served.

At dawn the procession sets off around the main square, bearing the images of five virgins clad in richly embroidered tunics, plus the images of four saints: Sebastian, Blas, Joseph and the Apostle Santiago (Saint James) mounted on a beautiful white horse.

Then the saints enter the Cathedral to receive homage, time after which representatives and authorities from various communities of Cuzco meet in the main square to discuss local affairs. Finally, the delegations return to the churches amidst hymns and prayers.

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Virgin of Carmen - Mamacha Carmen

: Paucartambo, Cusco
Date: June 15 - 16

Four hours from Cusco, in the town of Paucartambo, thousands of devotees hold festivals in honor of the Virgen del Carmen, known locally as Mamacha Carmen quechua for Mother Carmen, patron saint of the mestizo population. The gathering, that raises the curtain on these days of celebrations is held in the main square, where troupes of musicians play their instruments while richly dressed choirs sing in Quechua.

The setting gives way to a series of ingenious choreographies that portray events in Peruvian history. For five days, dance companies in various costumes (Doctorcitos, Waca Waca, Sarjas) take to the streets to accompany the Mamacha throughout the entire procession through the main square, the church and the city streets. On the main day, the virgin is borne aloft in a procession to bless those present and scare away demons.

The dancers take to the housetops, performing daring gymnastics, showing off their colorful Inca and colonial garb. At the end of the procession, war is waged on the demons, from which the faithful emerge in triumph. Finally, the gathering ends up in the cemetery to render homage to the souls of the dead.

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Inti Raymi

: Cusco
Date: June 24

The Winter Solstice in the southern hemisphere and the local harvests are the driving force behind the greatest, most majestic pre-Hispanic ceremony to render homage to the sun.

Today, the Inti Raymi festival evokes the splendid Inca ritual of yore, being carefully scripted by Cusco professors, archaeologists and historians. The central event is acted out on the esplanade below the imposing fortress of Sacsayhuaman, 2 km outside the city of Cusco, easily reached by car or on foot. There, step by step, thousands of actors enact a long ceremony giving thanks to the sun god, Inti.

The Inca ruler is borne on a royal litter from the Koricancha, or Temple of the Sun to the Huacaypata, the city's main square, where he commands the local authorities to govern fairly. Then all the participants set out for Sacsayhuaman, where the ceremony calls for the sacrifice of two llamas, one black and one white.

The llamas' entrails and fat are handed to a pair of high priests: the first, the Callpa Ricuy, examines the intestines to predict what sort of year lies ahead; while the second priest, the Wupariruj, makes his predictions based on the smoke that wafts up from the burning fat.

The high priests' predictions are then interpreted by the Willac Umo, the lord high priest, who bears the news to the Inca. Finally, at sunset, the Inca orders all to withdraw from the site, and the entire city breaks out into a festivities that will rage for several days.

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Saint John's Festival / Festival de San Juan

: Cusco, Loreto, San Martín, Ucayali
Date: June 24

In the jungle, Saint John the Baptist has taken on a major symbolic significance because of the importance of water as a vital element in the entire Amazon region. This is why June 24 (St. John's the Baptist's day) is the most important date on the festival calendar in the entire Peruvian jungle. The northeastern city of Iquitos hosts a variety of festivals and public events: fiestas with typical local bands where cooks dish up some of the regional cuisine, featuring tacacho (baked banana) and juanes (rice pastries), named after the patron saint, San Juan Bautista.

This carnival atmosphere, redolent with the warmth of the local hospitality, has given rise to the myth of a special sensuality to be found in Loreto. It is widely held that the best aphrodisiacs are concocted in Iquitos, potions blended from fruits and herbs steeped in sugarcane alcohol, with strange and suggestive names. The best-known is without a doubt the chuchuhuasi, fermented from a local root.

In the highlands, the festival is also linked to the concept of fertility, but here the main theme is livestock, something that is easily associated with the image of Saint John as the pastor of souls. On this day, livestock are counted and branded, and llamas are sometimes even the object of prayer. In Cusco, where peasant farmers used to bring their richly decorated sheep to Mass, the tradition has been shifted to June 25, yielding to Inti Raymi.

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Saint Peter and Saint Paul / San Pedro y San Pablo

: Chorrillos and Lurin, Lima - San Jose, Lambayeque
Date: June 29

Together with the communal task of dredging irrigation ditches, highland communities celebrate a veritable water festival.

On the coast, fishing communities have chosen Saint Peter as their patron saint, and render him homage in Lima's fishing districts of Chorrillos and Lurin, as well as in San Jose, located 13 km north of the city of Chiclayo. The ceremony is held by the mouth of the Lambayeque River, where legend has it the founding god Naylamp landed on Peruvian shores. The figure of the saint is borne aloft amidst burning incense, prayers and hymns down to the sea where it boards a fishing launch and is taken around the bay to bless the waters in the hope of a good fishing season.

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Corpus Christi in Peru
Virgin of Carmen
Inti Raymi
inti raymi
Saint John's Festival
Saint Peter and Saint Paul
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