11

May
2016

Holidays in Peru

Posted By : southernPERUexplorers/ 788

Celebrate good times! Whether you’re visiting in the middle of rainy season or right at the peak of the high tourist season, there is always something to celebrate in Peru. Make sure you don’t miss out on the party- Check out this list of holidays to see what’s going on during your visit.

January

January 1st- Año Nuevo

If you’re lucky enough to ring in a New Year in the beautiful historic city of Cusco, make sure you bring the energy! Hundreds of Peruvians come from far and wide to fill the Plaza de Armas with luck and prosperity for the new year.

How to celebrate

Peruvians can be a bit superstitious, especially when it comes to the New Year. Yellow is seen as a color signifying luck and happiness, so make sure you’re wearing your yellow underwear. If you find yourself without golden undergarments not to fret- there are plenty of people selling the good luck charm on this big day. You will also find lots of grapes around. It is tradition to each 12 grapes (one for every month of the next year) at the stroke of midnight for good luck. Also at the stroke of midnight are the famous 12 laps around the Plaza de Armas, don’t miss out on the parade.

February

Carnival- throughout the month

If you happen to be planning your trip for February, get ready for incredibly lighthearted and slightly chaotic celebrations that are a bit out of the box. Carnival is technically a catholic celebration as part of the lent season, but any and all are welcome to join in on the fun.

How to celebrate

You can expect to see all kinds of ways of celebrating Carnival in Peru, from feasts to parades, dances and even water and soap fights. Don’t be afraid to let your inner child out, and be prepared to get a little messy!

March/April

Semana Santa (Holy Week) – last week of March

This religious festival celebrating the coming of Easter will come produce a very colorful and rich insight into Peruvian culture and history.

How to celebrate

Head to almost any busy street during this week to see beautiful processions and parades of religious and cultural icon-statues. Expect to see candles, flowers, confetti, giant bands and dancers, fireworks, and a whole lot of smiles.

June

Inti Raymi (Festival of the Sun) -June 24

Arguably one of the most iconic and outstanding festivals of the year in Cusco, Inti Raymi dates back to the Inca Empire and celebration of the sun god, Inti. It takes place during the winter time, in the peak of the dry season and on the winter solstice.

How to celebrate

Hundreds of people will gather all over Cusco, with the biggest fiesta up in the mountains of Sacsayhuaman where there is a captivating reenactment of the ceremonies that took place years ago. You can expect to see actors in full traditional costume chanting in Quechua and celebrating the sun, usually ending with an animal sacrifice to Inti.

World Cup 2018

For the first time in over 35 years, Peru will be in the world cup finals in June 2018. Don’t get caught without your jersey, and expect to see nothing but football on every television everywhere for the entire month.

July

Peru Independence Day – July 28

Celebrating the independence of Peru from Spain in 1821, this national holiday will display one of the biggest parties you will ever see in Peru.

How to celebrate

You can expect to participate in parades and parties, dancing, eating lots of traditional Peruvian food, and may even see a few cultural festivities in the form of bull or cock fights, horse shows and traditional dances.

August

Dia de la Pachamama (Mother Earth Day) – August 1

Another age old traditional holiday, the start of the Andean new year also brings celebrations of nature and all of the gifts and joys it has brought and continues to bring the people of Cusco.

How to celebrate

You can join the locals in offering up food, drinks, and tokens of gratitude to say thanks to mother Earth on this day. You will also run into a piece of yellow confetti or two to welcome the Andean New Year with luck and happiness.

October

Halloween – October 31

Believe it or not, there is actually a very unique celebration of Halloween in Cusco, this day brings large crowds every year. It is a time of merging of the cultures of locals and tourists alike, and a perfect time to celebrate as November 1st is a national holiday.

How to celebrate

Head to the Plaza de Armas around 4pm, but don’t go empty handed! You will encounter hundreds of adorable children dressed in Halloween costumes and patiently awaiting candy. Local restaurants and shops pass out candy to kids since houses in Cusco are so spread out and neighborhoods are huge. Adults can enjoy their own trick or treat at all the local bars afterwards.

November

Todos los Santos/Dia de los Muertos (All Saints Day/Day of the Dead) – November 1-2

During this celebration of souls both present and past you will find many commonalities of the Latin American holiday throughout Peru, and even a few local twists.

How to celebrate

Head to the nearest cemetery and you will find bundles of Peruvian families celebrating and honoring the lives of their loved ones with offerings of food, drinks, flowers, toys and personal items of value. One tradition specific to Cusco is the offering and enjoying of pan de wawa.

This bundled up baby-shaped sweet bread (wawa= baby in Quechua) is decorated with colorful icings and sprinkles. Some bakeries offer incredibly long panes de wawa that stretch over several tables. Other smaller ones are taken home, where sometimes families will play a game in where the wawa has a pretend mother and father who celebrate a fake wedding together.

December

Fiesta de la Inmaculada Concepción (Feast of the Immaculate Conception) – December 8th

This catholic holiday celebrates the conception of Jesus by the Virgin Mary.

How to celebrate

You will find parades all around Peru of statues of the Virgin Mary. Many Peruvian families also celebrate with a nice dinner together.

Christmas – December 25th

Christmas in Peru (especially Cusco) is breathtaking no matter whether or not you celebrate the religious holiday.

How to celebrate

Get ready to hear nonstop fireworks with a stronger gusto than those on New Years. People from all over the city of Cusco come to the Plaza de Armas to camp out for a few days and sell local handmade treasures to offer as gifts to loved ones. Almost every major plaza in Peru will have its own nativity scene, and you will find beautiful lights all around the city all December long. Christmas dinner is had by many families, most display their own small nativity, and some even show off a Christmas tree!

Can’t find a national holiday on the calendar during your stay with us? This list is not exclusive, there are over 4,000 different festivals and parades celebrated in Peru, so odds are you will run into one. Also keep in mind that in Cusco, you will hear fireworks just about every day from local families celebrating everything from birthdays to weddings to the sun rising again. Feel free to embrace the local culture and create a holiday of your own, book a tour with us to get the most out of your visit.