Peru is a multicultural country with more than 3000 diverse festivals which are presented throughout the national territory in distinct forms and which display the fervor of locals. Often, these are borne of religious origins tied to both indigenous pre-Columbian traditions and the Catholic traditions brought to Peru by the Spanish Conquistadors.
During 18 days, offer homage to the Sacred image of the Virgen of Candelaria in Puno is a celebration where is presented more than 200 dances. The devotees, men and women of Puno are united to dance non-stop for the Virgin, thanking them for the benefits and miracles received. It is a festival full of color, where the troupes feature festively elaborate clothing and choreography.
This is the most passionate religious celebration in Peru, and second only to the Holy Week in Seville, Spain, in terms of popular demonstrations of devotion. The city of Ayacucho has 33 churches, and during this time the temples are adorned, there are Quechua-language masses, streets fill with processing parishioners bearing artistically-decorated candles and creating carpets of flowers as the smell of incense fills the air.
An an impressive display, the 15 patron saints and virgins of the distinct district parishes of Cusco, are borne by the faithful on large, heavy, elaborately decorated litters to the Cathedral of Cusco in the Plaza de Armas to salute the Body of Christ, housed in a magnificent Golden Custody weighing 26 kilograms and reaching 1.20 meters of height.
This receptacle for the Host is covered in precious stones. Each saint or virgen is accompanied by parishioners, dance troupes and teams of musicians, and on the main day of the festival thousands of parishioners pack the Plaza de Armas and the city's central streets to watch as they all process together.
At the Incan Fortress of Sacsayhuamán overlooking Cusco, June 24th (the Winter Solstice) brings with it a colorful reenactment of Inti Raymi, or the Festival of the Sun. Hundreds of vibrantly costumed actors, musicians and dancer faithfully perform the rites each year in order to render cult to the supreme Inca deity, Inti.
Thousands of visitors from all over the world congregate to enjoy the spectacle and jubilation in all of its majesty and cultural significance.l