Going to South America and Peru, you can’t miss two things while exploring these terrains. These are popular Inca trails and traditional festivals.
If you’re a serious mountain climber, you should choose one of the routes, leading you to the highest summits, including Mount Everest, which is probably the number one on the bucket list of all mountain lovers. If you’re thinking about such an expedition, you can navigate to this page to collect more detailed information, and thoroughly prepare yourself for this adventure. It’s usually a few-day trip, which requires special equipment and lots of courage.
Instead, if you’re more interested in the Peruvian culture than geography, then you should definitely take part in one of the most beautiful and colourful festivals in the whole world. Some sources say that there are even up to 3 000 traditional festivals there. Although this number may be slightly exaggerated, there’s no surprise that Peru, known for its rich culture and traditions, holds so many annual events. Here is the list of the most famous festivals you can participate in while visiting this fascinating country.
Fiesta de la Candelaria
Do you want to take part in the largest festival in the whole of South America, after Carnival in Rio de Janeiro? Then come to Peru in February when Fiesta de la Candelaria is celebrated. It’s as colourful and impressive as the Carnival in Rio. That’s because of around 40 000 dressed-up participants who sing and dance in honour of the Virgin of Candelaria, who is the patron saint of the town Puno, where the festival takes place. And all this event lasts for two weeks. Can you imagine a more fabulous celebration?
Festival Internacional de la Vendimia
In Peru, such festivals are an inherent part of their lives. There’s no single month without some events. In March, for instance, you can celebrate the Peruvian love for wine. Being in the Ica Region during that time, you’ll more than certainly come across Peruvians celebrating Festival Internacional de la Vendimia, or the International Harvest Festival, during which a queen is asked as the first person in the season to stomp grapes.
Fiesta de la Cruces
When you go to Peru in May, you’ll have the occasion to participate in the Fiesta de la Cruces. Although it isn’t strictly a Peruvian festival, people have been celebrating it for years, making it a part of their history. Moreover, you’ll see it wherever you’re currently staying since it’s known in all cities and towns throughout the country. And don’t be misled by the name of this celebration. It isn’t another boring religious ceremony; the festival is full of dancing, singing, and even bullfighting.
Have you ever heard of the Inca Festival of the Sun? That is what Inti Raymi is but under another name. It’s the most indigenous of all festivals, untouched by the influence of the Catholic church. It’s held annually on 24th June to celebrate the winter solstice since Peru is located in the southern hemisphere. An intriguing titbit could be the fact that it was banned by the Spanish and the Catholic church in the 16th century. But its revival has gathered even more supporters.
Fiesta de la Virgen del Carmen
However, if you think that there’s no religious festival in Peru, you’re mistaken. Of course, there is. It’s Fiesta de la Virgen del Carmen, which mixes traditional Andean culture with Catholicism. It’s held in the middle of July, in the small town of Paucartambo, located a few hours away from Cusco. This festival is regarded as one of the biggest and wildest religious events in the whole of Peru and typically lasts for three or four days. What’s interesting, tourists usually sleep rough since there are no vacancies in hotels and guest houses. So, if you’re planning your holiday in Peru in July, you’d better book your accommodation far in advance. And think twice if you want to take your kids with you since they might be a little bit frightened seeing all these colourful masks and costumes, depicting, for example, African slaves who worked in the silver mines during the colonial era.
Dia de Santa Rosa de Lima
You’ve probably heard of Santa de Rosa Lima, who was the first native-born American saint accepted by the Catholic church. There are many celebrations worldwide in honour of her, but the biggest one is undoubtedly in her homeland- Peru. She is commemorated on 30th August, on the day of her death. Although events take place in most cities, the most lavish is in the capital city.
Who said that celebrating festivals should last only one day? It can continue even the whole week, as in the case of Puno Week, held at the beginning of November. What Peruvians solemnise this time? The birth of the first Inca. They probably follow the rule that every occasion is right to celebrate. And other nations should follow its example.
The Peruvian holiday doesn’t have to be only focused on sightseeing. You can immerse yourself in the culture another way as well, either by long treks in the mountains or at the most famous festivals in the world.
Article written by Daria Skutecka.