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Holidays and Festivals

Cusco plays host to several yearly festivals, some driven by Amerindian influences, others by post-Columbian traditions, and some that blend both. The most well attended and most popular festival in Cusco is Inti Raymi, the yearly Inca festival celebrating the winter solstice on June 24, according to the Inca Sundial (modern science has since pinned the date to June 21). Another favorite is Qoyllur Rit'i, which sees hundreds of people-mostly people from nearby villages, but also middle-class Peruvians and tourists-make a pilgrimage to shrine of Lord of Qoyllur Rit'i, 4600 meters (15,000 ft) above sea level in the Andes.

As in pretty much all Latin American cities, Cusco lets loose for Carnival. The celebration peaks the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday and is a great time to visit Cusco if you want to party. Be warned that you most likely get drenched with water balloons and foam thrown by adults and children alike! Semana Santa, held during Easter, is also celebrated all over Latin America. Cusco celebrates by holding numerous processions through the streets, including an Easter Monday procession led by El Señor de los Temblores (Lord of the Earthquakes). For the Santuranticuy festival, on December 24, hundreds of artisans head to Cusco’s Plaza de Armas to spread their wares out on blankets. It is one of the largest craft fairs in Peru.

18 Apr 2012

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