The Corpus Christi festival takes place in June, the date is movable.
The «Corpus Christi Cusqueño» is the most important religious festival in Cusco although this date always falls on Thursday, the party begins the day before with the traditional «tickets».
Wednesday (the day before Corpus Christi) begins with the entrance of the saints to the cathedral of the city, accompanied by butlers, faithful, bands of musicians and dances.
On the central day the lavish procession of the fifteen images of saints and virgins from the same number of parishes in Cusco takes place, the silver float that carries the custody leads the procession.
After seven days (the eighth), the saints go out in procession again before returning to their places of origin, where they will remain for the rest of the year.
If you visit Cusco for the Corpus Christi, don´t miss the opportunity to hike the classic inca trail 4 days 3 nights that takes you to the impressive Machu Picchu, the choquequirao trek tour that takes you to the Choquequirao Archaeological Center, and the full day tours: rainbow mountain peru tour and the humantay lake trek.
The Origin of the Corpus Christi in Perú
When the Spaniards arrived in Cusco, they were surprised to learn that the children of the Sun brought out the mummies of the Incas in procession; then, brandishing the gospels, they decided to end the pagan festival forever. The solution of the missionaries who accompanied the conquerors was very simple: replace the venerated remains with images of the Virgin and Catholic saints. This is how Corpus Christi in Perú was born in the ancient capital of Tawantinsuyo, a Catholic celebration that was permeated with Andean nuances.
Multitudinous celebration that takes place in the Plaza de Armas, complemented with gastronomic customs, being the «Chiriuchu» the representative dish
The Corpus Christi in Perú
Today, the festival is important in the common and current population that lives in the jurisdiction of the different parishes of Qosqo; The preparations begin weeks and even months in advance for which there is a traditional organization commanded by the butler («carguyoq») who is the person who accepts the position, responsibility and obligation to pay most of the expenses of the This festivity includes, among others, masses, new clothing for the Virgin or Saint of the Parish, the contract with a band of musicians («q’aperos») to accompany the procession, a typical orchestra for the celebration of the festival, food for the guests, brandy, chicha and beer, reminders, etc.
On Wednesday, the day before Corpus Christi in Perú, the «entry» of the images that come out in procession from their parishes is carried out, accompanied by the priest, the neighbors, the mayordomos who carry the «demands» on their chests, which are distinctive or banners sometimes of silver with the image of the Virgin or Saint, to go to the Cathedral where the image will be deposited until the next day when the main procession takes place. In this «entrance» of saints, the «race» that San Sebastián and San Jerónimo undertake to try to reach the city’s Cathedral first is celebrated and spectacular; Early in the morning the image of San Jerónimo departs from the district of the same name, some 10 km away in the district of San Sebastián, about 5 km away. The image of the town is already on the track, and so upon arrival of the other image begins a mad race through Av. de la Cultura towards the Plaza de Armas.
On this day, in the vicinity of the Plaza de Armas many merchants have placed their stands of typical food for those attending the «entrance», where the traditional «Chiri Uchu» or «Aji Frio» is served, which consists of small pieces of roast guinea pig, chicken, ch’arki, sausages, cau-cau, cheese, torrejas of corn flour, toasted corn, qocha-yuyo and rocoto; other stands also serve chicharrones, anticuchos, etc .; and of course beer and chicha. After the entrance of the images to the Cathedral, the people will give free rein to their gastronomic tastes and their thirst for alcohol.
Body of Christ
Body of Christ composition of two Latin voices “Corpus Christi”, with these words the feast of the Institution of the Eucharist is designated, celebrated by the Catholic Church on Thursday 60th, the day after Easter Sunday.
On the central day inside the Cathedral, masses are held for the various Saints and Virgins, at 10.30 am the Archbishop of Cusco offers a Te – Deum mass, after which the procession of the Silver Coach begins, which holds the golden sun of the Custody, which in turn represents the Blessed Sacrament. The Templete was ordered to be built by Bishop Fray Bernardo de Serrada in 1733 using part of a legacy from Dr. Francisco de Goyzueta Maldonado, today it goes out in procession and is accompanied by faithful, city authorities, delegations from various institutions and the population in general.
It is known that when the Spaniards arrived in Cusco they saw the cult that was done to the deities or mummies that were carried in procession by the Incas, which is why and using the Gospels they ended that manifestation considered pagan and inserted instead of the gods, images of virgins and saints, this is how this festival was born. Today there are 15 images that come out in procession:
- San Antonio of the parish of San Cristóbal
- San Jerónimo of the parish of the district of San Jerónimo
- San Cristóbal of the parish of San Cristóbal
- San Sebastián of the parish of the district of San Sebastián
- Santa Bárbara from the parish of the Poroy district
- Santa Ana from the parish of Santa Ana
- Santiago Apóstol of the parish of Santiago
- San Blas of the parish of San Blas
- San Pedro of the parish of San Pedro
- Saint Joseph of the parish of Belén
- Virgin of the Nativity of the Almudena parish
- Virgin of the Remedies of the church of Santa Catalina
- Purified Virgin of the parish of San Pedro
- Virgin of Bethlehem of the parish of Bethlehem
- Virgin of the Immaculate Conception also called «La Linda» of the Cathedral.
The 15 saints after the central mass in the Plaza de Armas of Cusco, usually go around the entire square, giving blessings to all attendees. At the end of the procession do not forget to go through the Plaza de San Francisco and taste the delicious Chiri Uchu, the Flag Dish of the Cusco region.
Corpus Christi 2021 in Cusco
The date is always movable, like the feast of the Lord of Qoyllurit’i, the date for the Corpus Christi 2021 in Cusco will depend on Holy Week. For Qoyllurit’i, fifty-eight days are counted after Easter Sunday, in this case for Corpus Christi, nine weeks are counted after Holy Thursday (Holy Week) and thus Corpus arrived. Cusqueños and foreigners are waiting to celebrate it as it should.
The traditional dish of the Corpus Christi 2021 in Cusco is Chiriuchu, an exquisite cold and spicy dish for all demanding palates. A mixture of 10 ingredients such as: baked guinea pig (it must be taken into account that the meat of this rodent must be tender, so that when someone eats it it is soft since this way the characteristic flavor is preserved), cau cau (egg cup of fish), boiled hen, jerky, qochayuyo (seaweed), chorizo, white corn field, cheese, sliced hot pepper and the typical torreja. This fluffy consistency torreja is the combination of some ingredients such as: corn, pumpkin and a little chicken broth during preparation so that it has a characteristic flavor when served.
- Always carry your personal documents
- Take care of your belongings at all times
- If you are accompanied by children, take care of them because of the crowds of people.
- Wear a hat and sunscreen to avoid the sun’s rays.
- Hydrate yourself, it is important.
- Bring a camera to make your photographic records with the saints