Holy Week in Cusco is a very special time that attracts numerous tourists and has a deep meaning for the inhabitants of the region. During this time, deep-rooted religious and cultural traditions are carried out and manifested in processions full of devotion on the part of the faithful.

The celebration of Holy Week in Cusco

Differs from other festivities, as it begins with Palm Sunday and reaches its climax on Easter Monday with the procession of the Patron Saint of Cusco, the Lord of Earthquakes, concluding on Easter Sunday.

In addition to the Cusco Cathedral, where the archbishop presides the Mass with Communion, other churches in the city also open their doors during Holy Week, welcoming crowds of the faithful. Between the distinctive processions, masses and the religious fervor that permeates the streets of Cusco, the festivities begin.

Palm Sunday

Marks the end of Lent and the beginning of Holy Week. On this day, believers go to the various parishes of the city carrying palm leaves and crosses woven with the same plant, which are blessed during the Eucharistic celebrations in the temples. Later, these blessed palms are hung behind the doors of homes as a symbol of protection.

img 1: Palm Sunday

The faithful also visit the Cathedral of Cusco, the most important church in the city, since on Palm Sunday a mass is celebrated in Quechua at five in the morning.

It is on this day when the blessings are obtained, so the procession takes place a day later. One of the traditions is that refined pieces of tapestries, colorful carpets and fabrics are placed in the windows of the houses through which the procession passes.

Holy Monday

Easter Monday, the second day of Holy Week, is a day in which you can witness the devotion of the inhabitants of Cusco and thousands of faithful gathered in the main square of the city. The Mass with Communion is celebrated in the Cathedral, presided by the Archbishop of Cusco himself.

However, as mentioned above, Easter Monday is the main day of Holy Week because the procession of the Lord of the Tremors, considered the patron saint of the city, takes place. Witnessing this procession is a truly unique experience, as it represents deep beliefs and traditions that have endured for decades.

The Procession of the Lord of the Tremors, also known as “Taytacha de los Temblores”, is one of the main processions of Holy Week that gathers most of the population. During Holy Monday, a crucified Christ, of indigenous character, is carried in procession through the main streets of the city and the Main Square of Cusco.

img 2: Procession of the Lord of the Earthquakes

The highlight of the procession is when the Señor de los Temblores blesses the faithful while being held on the shoulders of the bearers.

Maundy Thursday

Holy Week continues with Holy Thursday, a day in which certain biblical passages are remembered. The archbishop washes the feet of twelve elders, just as Jesus did with his disciples, and in addition, families walk the streets of the Historic Center on a route known as the “Seven Temples”, recalling the falls of Jesus on his way to Calvary.

img 3: Holy Thursday Mass and foot washing

Holy Friday

Good Friday is known for the “tradition of the twelve dishes”, alluding to the twelve disciples of Christ. For example, in the district of Sayllapata, province of Paucartambo, a soup is usually prepared with local ingredients. Whether it is a soup called k’irku, made with tarwi, eggs, milk and cheese, or a soup made with whole eggs, the meal always represents a special tradition.

Other ingredients of this dish are corn, ollucos, wheat and potatoes. On the street you will find dishes with these Andean ingredients, as well as a rich trout stew and a fine sautéed cod. Unlike the Good Friday customs in other Peruvian cities, in Cusco there is plenty to eat.

In addition to this culinary tradition, there is also the Procession of the Holy Sepulcher. This procession commemorates the death and burial of Jesus Christ according to Christian tradition. During this ceremony, a replica of the tomb of Christ is carried in procession through the streets of the city, accompanied by a large number of faithful and devotees.

img 4: Procession of the Holy Sepulcher

Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday morning begins with a large congregation of the faithful gathered at seven o’clock in the morning. They attend the first mass of the day and listen to the Sunday Easter sermon. This day is of supreme importance to Christians as it commemorates the resurrection of Jesus.

After the procession and mass, the main streets are impregnated with the delicate aroma of delicious dishes such as chicken broth, empanadas, tamales and cakes. Thus concludes Holy Week in the imperial city of Cusco.

img 5: Easter Sunday in cusco

While it is a week full of activities, witnessing Holy Week in Cusco is well worth it. If you plan to immerse yourself in this experience, keep in mind some important recommendations: avoid bringing valuables to the processions, bring an umbrella (as it tends to rain suddenly) and make sure you don’t lose sight of children or coordinate meeting points with family members, as it is easy to get lost.

Want to make your trip to Cusco even more memorable, don’t hesitate! Travel to Machu Picchu either by train or doing the Inca Trail full day or inca trail 2 days. don’t forget to check availability .

Full Days Tour

Discover the diversity and cultural richness of Cusco on our exciting full-day tours. Immerse yourself in the history and beauty of the city with a captivating half-day tour, exploring its charming cobblestone streets, historic squares and iconic monuments that tell centuries of history. For an even more enriching experience, venture into the mystical Sacred Valley in a single day. Explore the ancient and fascinating Inca constructions of Maras, Moray and Salineras, where you can marvel at the engineering and ingenuity of this ancient civilization. Also, take the unique opportunity to visit the last Inca bridge still standing, Qeswachaka, on an exciting expedition that will take you through breathtaking landscapes and connect you with the authenticity of the Inca culture.

img 6: Moray

Full Days Hikes in Cusco

Embark on full-day hiking adventures in Cusco and delve into the natural splendor and spirituality of the Andes. Discover the enchanting Humantay Lagoon, where the turquoise waters blend with the snow-capped peaks, offering a breathtaking display of serene beauty. Traverse the diverse hues and surreal landscapes of the Rainbow Mountain, a natural marvel that transports you to a realm of fantasy and awe. Immerse yourself in the tranquility of the Seven Lagoons of Ausangate, where the pristine scenery and peaceful surroundings beckon reflection and introspection. Additionally, explore Huchuy Qosqo, Pallay Punchu, and Waqrapukara. These ancient sites offer a profound connection with nature and self, creating a spiritual and fulfilling journey that will leave a lasting impression on your soul.

img 8: rainbow mountain

Machu Picchu

Visiting Machu Picchu and discovering its mysteries and grandeur is an unparalleled adventure that you should not miss. Although the train is a popular and comfortable option, there are fascinating alternatives for those who wish to immerse themselves even further in the natural and cultural richness of the Peruvian Andes. From challenging trekking routes to ground and air transportation options, exploring how to get to Machu Picchu without using the train offers a unique and rewarding perspective on this archaeological wonder. There are several options to reach this magical place; don’t hesitate to count on us to embark on this unique adventure. Get more information on our website: Machu Picchu Tours.

img 9:Machu Picchu

Inca Trail

Discover the wonder of the legendary Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, recognized as one of the main trekking routes in South America. Follow in the footsteps of our ancient Inca ancestors to the amazing citadel of Machu Picchu and venture to unravel its enigmas. This historic route represents the most daring way to reach Machu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore exclusive archaeological sites that can only be accessed along this trail and immerse yourself in the breathtaking mountain scenery and lush vegetation. Despite the challenges you may encounter along the way, an incomparable reward awaits you as you cross the Sun Gate and behold for the first time the majesty of the mystical Machu Picchu. Explore all your options with us on our website to discover this wonderful place: Inca Trail.

Salkantay Trek

Join us on the exciting Salkantay trekking excursion to one of the Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu. This alternative route, considered one of the best, will take you to explore breathtaking landscapes, from the majestic Humantay Lagoon to the imposing Salkantay Mountain, through a fascinating cloud forest to the edge of the Peruvian jungle. Each night, you will stay in comfortable accommodations and enjoy delicious local meals surrounded by mountains. Our expert guides will be with you at all times, sharing knowledge about the history and nature of the region. Get ready to live an unforgettable experience surrounded by comfort and the best company; know all the details of our packages in the following link of our website: incatrail.org

img 12: salkantay trek

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