The Holy Week, or Semana Santa in Peru, takes place in March or April. It starts on Palm Sunday and lasts to Easter Sunday. Throughout this week, lots of spiritual celebrations take place, celebrating the death, funeral, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Tourists in Cusco will see many processions, typical costumes, and also local culinary delicacies. In 2023, the Holy week starts on April 2nd (Palm Sunday). Check our Tips for Semana Santa in Peru, so you won’t miss anything from this unique event in Peru.
What is there to see for travelers during Semana Santa?
Throughout the Semana Santa holidays, lots of residents from all over Peru traveling to Cusco or Ayacucho to witness the spiritual processions or spend time with their families. Particularly in Cusco, you will see the blend of ancient Inca expressions with the newer influences of Christianity, brought by the Spaniards. This makes it one of the most interesting events in Peru. Below you will find the five most important days of Semana Santa in Peru.
Day 1: Sunday: Palm Sunday
Semana Santa in Cusco starts on April 2nd, 2023. Today notes the beginning of Semana Santa on Palm Sunday, or Domingo de Ramos in Spanish. Several catholic Peruvians will attend church on this day to commemorate Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem, defined in the Bible as being welcomed with palm branches. The people are used to make crosses and other layouts out of palm fronds, which are after that honored throughout church services. In addition, in lots of Peruvian cities and communities, including Cusco, processions get on Palm Sunday. These processions usually include the true blessing of palm fronds, carried by the faithful as they adhere to the parade via the streets.In addition to the spiritual aspects, Palm Sunday is an moment for the Peruvians to spend time together with nice foods and music. Additionally, it is a time to reflect on the definition of Holy Week as well as to plan for the solemn events that will follow: the Last Supper, the Crucifixion, as well as the Resurrection.
Day 2: Monday (Lunes Santo): Lord of the Tremors (Señor de Los Temblores).
The Lord of the Earthquake (or Lord of the Tremors) is among one of the most excellent festivities of the year in Cusco. According to the tradition, the story traces back to 1650 when a figure of Christ presumably quit an effective earthquake that shook the city of Cusco. The Señor de los Temblores sculpture is still thought about a mystic personality in Cusco’s history. The celebrations start on Lunes Santo (Holy Monday), with the procession of the Black Christ around the Plaza de Armas to the Plaza de San Francisco. This ceremony is a unique occasion in South America that you must not miss out on during Semana Santa in Cusco!
Day 3: Thursday: Maundy Thursday (Jueves Santo).
Generally, peope in Cusco prepare 12 recipes for dinner today, representing the 12 disciples. Today is an official holiday in Peru; banks, stores, etc might be closed, yet you can do tours in Cusco, visit Machu Picchu, Sacred Valley, Rainbow Mountain, etc.
Day 4: Friday: Good Friday (Viernes Santo).
Numerous people from the countryside come from much away to the center, bringing herbs as well as medicinal plants that are claimed to obtain blessings as they trip to keep in mind the Lord. You can do all kind of tours in Cusco, visit Machu Picchu, Sacred Valley, Rainbow Mountain, etc.
Day 5: Sunday: Easter Sunday (Pascua).
Easter Sunday is fairly quiet contrasted to the rest of the Holy Week in Cusco. Fireworks mark the end of the Semana Santa in Peru.
Tips for Semana Santa in Peru
Semana Santa is an one-of-a-kind cultural experience for tourists in Peru. Just make sure you plan your trips and tours and buy your plane or bus tickets on time, as a lot of local people will be traveling too. Especially on Thursday and Friday, many shops, and even restaurants might be closed. Semana Santa in Cusco is a fascinating fusion of Peruvian and Spanish traditions. Three tips to make the most of your stay in Peru during Semana Santa.
1 – Go to the procession of El Señor de los Temblores!
Don’t miss out on observing this stunning procession, as it is unique to the Cusco area. Furthermore, the procession provides an excellent glimpse into exactly how Incan practices are still infused with modern-day Catholicism in this area of Peru. The procession will begin as a statute of El Señor de los Temblores is carried out of the cathedral on the Plaza de Armas. The entire procession is spectacular and takes a few hours. Ensure you have your camera prepared for great pictures throughout the procession! This procession normally takes area at some point in the afternoon, between 2-3 pm, yet be sure to obtain there very earl, it will be very crowded.
2 – Try the typical Peruvian Food.
One of the very best features of Semana Santa is the lovely Peruvian food particularly throughout the standard lunch of the 12 plates with six salty and 6 sweet meals: the feast of the desserts including stewed peaches, pears, as well as empanadas, among others.
3 – Go to market in Cusco.
Especialy on Good Friday, you will see many typical snacks at the market in Cusco the beautiful medicinal plants and herbs.
In General, Semana Santa in Cusco is a meaningful and rich social experience that provides vacationers a peek into Peru’s history and traditions.
We hope our Tips for Semana Santa in Peru was useful to plan your time traveling in Peru and in Cusco.