Dia de los Muertos in Peru
Many people know the Dia de Los Muertos because it’s a very famous holiday in Mexico but actually it’s just as famous here in Peru. It’s also celebrated in Cusco, here mostly known as el Dia de Los Disfuntos or deceased, which sounds a bit more “respectful.”.
This national holiday and important fiesta local, is the day following the Dia de Los Santos (All Saints Day) on November 1st. It is believed that on Dia de Los Disfuntos (November 2nd) souls of ancestors and loved ones visit the Earth. This day is also used for remembrance of the deceased. Long before the Spanish brought the Catholic religion to Peru, Peruvians had celebrations in remembrance of their ancestors. In South America deceased are first buried and only later are they cremated. On the Dia de Los Disfuntos Peruvian families bring their deceased loved one’s favorite food and drink to their tomb.
In Cusco, traditional foods such as the typical Peruvian Lechon (roasted suckling pig) and Tantawawa, pan wawa or bread babies (wawa = baby in Quechua) are prepared during the weeks before the main fiesta. The pan wawa are decorated with caritas. Baker’s also prepare Anchachis or figures of older people and people of color. They bake horse figures representing the transcend from Pachamama or Mother Earth to Alaxpacha (superior place where the moon, stars and sun are placed). Stairs are made and said to remove clouds to help the dead rest peacefully. The traditional of the bread bakery during the last days of October is really amazing in Peru and visitors to Cusco should certainly visit the San Pedro market to watch the breads.
In Cusco most festivities are celebrated at Almudena Cemetery just a short 30-45 minute walk from the Plaza de Armas. Because this particular cemetery houses famous and important personalities, food and drink are not permitted inside. Getting to the cemetery is a simple straight walk with the names of the street changing every few blocks. Paintings decorate the cemetery walls a floral vendors can be found near the entrance making this one extremely colorful cemetery. Inside some families have relatives places on top one another inside the white walls of the cemetery. Each tomb contains a glass case in which loved ones can use to place items representing their loved one’s life and passions. Wealthier families will place their loved ones in much bigger tombs which could house the entire family.
Come be a part of the celebrations in Cusco and immerse yourself in this special cultural event in Peru!