Holy Week Celebrations in Peru

procesion de semana santa en cusco

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The Holy Week in Peru is lived with much fervor and feeling. We cannot forget that it is a very Catholic country and its inhabitants go out to celebrate it in the streets with the passing of the Easter Week processions.

If you can’t travel to Peru on those days, don’t worry, we’ll tell you about the 5 most spectacular celebrations and customs in the Holy Week of Peru without leaving home.

Holy Week in Cusco

In Cusco these dates are lived with a special fervor. One of the most important celebrations is the procession of the Lord of Tremors, which is attended by more than 100 thousand people.

This Christ owes his name to the strong earthquake that took place in the Peruvian city in 1650, knocking down houses and temples. The inhabitants of all social classes gathered around this Christ begging him for protection. At that time the tremors were decreasing in intensity, which made them embrace lords, slaves, mestizos and Indians for this miracle.

 procession tremors holy week cusco

The Christ of the Tremors is the sworn Patron of Cusco and is located in the Cathedral of the city, in the Plaza de Armas. This square is one of the most beautiful squares in Peru.

It is also a tradition that on Holy Thursday the Bishop of Cusco washes the feet of 12 elderly people just as Jesus did with the apostles.

The processions continue until Easter Sunday, the day on which Peru’s Holy Week ends, eating and enjoying the local delicacies. Cusco’s Holy Week is one of the most popular traditions of Peru.

Although if you can’t go to this festivity because of the dates, we invite you to do it at any other time of the year. It is one of the most beautiful cities in all of Peru and there are many tours in Cusco that will make you fall in love with the area.

Holy week in Arequipa

Known for its proximity to the Colca Canyon, Arequipa is characterized by its customs and its mestizo identity.

The most typical thing of the place is to make some tour from Arequipa to the Colca Canyon. But if you visit it during the Holy Week of Peru, you must know that it is one of the areas in which this festivity is lived more intensely.

From Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday the processions and the crowds fill the streets of the city. The tears for the Passion and Death of Christ will be sweetened with the taste of the creoles and the cakes.

The Good Friday is one of the most religious fervor days, during the night the image of the lying Christ is kept awake. In addition, the faithful approach him with blessed cotton to heal their wounds while praying the rosary.

In the early morning of Easter Sunday the “burning of Judas” takes place. This tradition consists in the making of a large doll representing the traitorous apostle. Before being burned, his will is read in public, which contains criticisms addressed to authorities and politicians.

Holy Week in Lima

Declared Cultural Patrimony of the Nation, the Holy Week of the Historical Center of Lima not only gathers the population of the center of the city. It is so important that citizens from all districts of Lima and even from the rest of the country gather.

It is very typical among Limeños to visit the seven churches between Good Thursday and Good Friday. The faithful tour these churches as a way of the Way of the Cross.

From Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, the processions fill the streets of downtown Lima with color and devotion.

 procession holy week peru

One of the particularities of Lima’s Holy Week is its spectacular floral carpets. This tradition dates back to the 16th century and takes place in the Lima district of Surco. It is so important that a national contest is held to choose the most beautiful carpet.

Easter in Ayacucho

Ayacucho is considered one of the most religious areas of Peru. The Holy Week is one of its most intense manifestations, one of the most important signs of faith in the country.

During the ten days that Holy Week lasts the city mobilizes the entire community. Their visitors come from all corners of the planet, and it is, along with Seville (Spain), one of the cities of the world that more intensely lives these celebrations.

procession ayacucho christ nazareno

The Andean culture mixes with the Catholic religion in a unique way, according to the inhabitants of Ayacucho, even magical. The city is full of color, fervor, traditions, and folklore.

Holy Week in Omate

Omate’s Holy Week, declared “Cultural Heritage of the Nation” begins on Palm Sunday with the escenification of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

Jesus riding a donkey goes through arches of flowers competing for the prize of the most beautiful and spectacular. It is a contest that fills the streets of the city with joy and color.

One of the particularities that make Omate’s Holy Week unique is its famous “posas” or giant altars, which measure more than 10 meters. Some of them are even 30 meters high.

altar omate posas

As you can see, all of Peru is overturned by the Holy Week. The religious fervor invades every corner of the country, with palms, candles, prayers and processions, much color and feeling to celebrate the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Are you curious to experience these traditions live and in person? Whether you are a believer or not, you cannot deny that they are curious. How is Holy Week celebrated in your country?

Lily

Lily is happy with a backpack on her back. Every year she travels through one country in Latin America and has repeated several times, especially Peru where she says she feels at home (although she says the same about Argentina, Chile and Bolivia).

She loves ceviche, hiking and Sunday picnics with her friends, although whenever you ask her, she's always planning her next destination.

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