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Peruvian Holidays 2

Zurite, Cusco FestivalPeru has too many holidays to fit into one article. Cusco is an important Peruvian cultural hub, but it is not the only one. Each of the Peruvian regions has its unique folkloric and religious expressions – some of them world famous and rightfully so. What celebrations are popular throughout the Peruvian coast? Which festival is as big as the Rio Carnival? Don’t miss them on your Peruvian holidays!






Virgen de la Candelaria – first two weeks of February

Virgin of Candelaria is the patron saint of Puno – Andean city near the border with Boliva. The fiesta starts 2nd February each year in Puno and lasts two weeks. 27th November 2014 Fiesta de La Candelaria became UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.[1] It is one of the three biggest South American cultural events together with Carnaval de Oruro in Bolivia and Rio de Janeiro Carnival in Brazil. Tens of thousands of dancers, musician, artisans, and others gather to take part in the different processions and contests. It is a blend of Quechua, Aymara, and Catholic traditions.

According to the 2017 celebrations will be organized as follows:

2nd February Mass and Procession

5th February Indigenous Dance Contest

12th February Mestizo (Mixed) Dance Contest

13th February Great Parade that ends with veneration of the Virgin in ‘Santuario de la Santísima Virgen de la Candelaria’[2] de Puno.


Semana Santa – end of March or beginning of April

Throughout Peru there is a diversity of Easter celebrations, processions, pilgrimages, and alfombras. These ‘carpets’ are delicate colorful mosaics composed of flowers laid on the main pavements where people gather for celebration in the towns. According the Peru This Week these are the places to include into your Semana Santa travel plans: Ayacucho, Tarma, Cajamarca, our Cusco, and Ica.


Flag Day – 7th June

7th June in commemoration of the Battle of Arica all of Peru celebrates Día de la Bandera. Peruvian flags are sold all over the country since a week or two before. Peruvians like to express their patriotism by hanging a new flag on their houses. The Flag Day bears similar importance as the Independence Day. The tradition has it that General Jose de San Martin – one of the libertadores of Peru – was inspired by the flamingo birds with white chests and red wings to design the Peruvian flag.


Santa Rosa de Lima – 30th August

‘Rose of Lima, T.O.S.D. (April 20, 1586 – August 24, 1617), was a Spanish colonist in Lima, Peru, who became known for both her life of severe asceticism and her care of the needy of the city through her own private efforts. […] She has been declared a saint by the Catholic Church, being the first person born in the Americas to be canonized.’[3] She is ‘the primary patroness of Peru and the indigenous natives of Latin America. Her image is featured on the highest denomination banknote of Peru.’[4] The importance of Santa Rosa de Lima is comparable to that of Virgen de Guadalupe of Mexico.[5] End of August in Lima is the time to witness this patron saint’s Peruvian holiday.


Señor de los Milagros – October – The Purple Month

‘Lord of Miracles (in Spanish: Señor de los Milagros de Nazarenas) is an image painted of Jesus Christ that is venerated in Lima, Peru. The image was painted during the 17th century by an unnamed African taken from what is now Angola to Peru as a slave. Its feast is the main Catholic celebration in Peru and one of the largest processions in the world. […] Its name originated in the 17th century during an earthquake, which destroyed most of the city leaving only that mural standing. This is considered a miraculous occurrence by many living there. Every year in October, hundreds of thousands of devotees from all races and economic backgrounds participate in a religious procession honoring the image through the streets of Lima. Boulevards are decorated in purple on October 18, 19, and 28 to celebrate the Lord of Miracles.’[6]

October is called Mes Morado – Purple Month – because people, shops, and cities dress in an intense tone of the color of Señor de los Milagros. It is the best time to try turrón a typical cookie-like sweet made with anise and decorated with dried fruit and sugar in different colors and shapes. Turrón is available in the supermarkets not only during October, but the best once are made in non-industrial scale by the local bakers for Mes Morado.


Trujillo Spring Festival – September – October

During this time of the year the City of Eternal Spring – Trujillo – in Northern La Libertad Region of Peru is busy with Marinera dance and Paso Horses parades and competitions. Marinera academies and Asociación de Criadores de Caballos Peruanos de Paso de Trujillo show case the best of their arts on the Plaza de Armas. The Marinera Day falls on 7th October.[7]

‘Marinera is a graceful and romantic couple’s dance that uses handkerchiefs as props. The dance is an elegant and stylized reenactment of a courtship, and it shows a blend of the different cultures of Peru. The dance itself has gained a lot of recognition and is one of the most popular traditional dances of Peru. […] Traditional accompaniment for the dance is provided by cajón, clarinets, guitars, drums, and bugles. […] The exact origin of the dance is undetermined, but it is an unmistakable blend of Spanish, Moorish, Andean, and Gypsy rhythmic influences. [This dance] gained the name “Marinera” in honor of the Peruvian Navy.’[8]


For a detailed calendar of 2016 Peruvian celebrations go to our previous article. For more tips on places to visit see this article. For more information about our packages visit our web site.


[1] ‘Once nuevos elementos en la Lista representativa del patrimonio cultural inmaterial’, Unescopress via Wikipedia

[2] Wikipedia

[3] Wikipedia

[4] Wikipedia


[6] Wikipedia


[8] Wikipedia


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