4 reasons to travel to Cusco during Corpus Christi

Last week I was in Cusco for an invitation from PromPerú for the Corpus Christi party. They were two days of celebration that I enjoyed a lot. Here are four reasons why I think it’s worth traveling to Cusco at this time:

1. Eat Chiriuchu

It is the typical dish of these parties. Very difficult to find it at another time of the year. Throughout Cusco you can find the stalls with the striking whole cuys, some with their rocoto in the mouth. It is a very strong cold dish that brings: cuy, hen, charki, homemade sausage, corn tortillas, cochayuyo (seaweed), cheese, canchita and cooked fish egg.  The portion costs 25 soles.

2. Participate in a Catholic celebration with Inca roots

Corpus Christi is a Catholic festival around the Eucharist that comes from medieval times and is celebrated in different ways in the world. In Cusco it is celebrated with the procession around the parade ground of the most holy sacrament with ten saints and five virgins who then remain in the cathedral for eight days. On the eighth day they return in procession to their respective churches. But what are the Inca roots? During the Inca period, prior to the Inti Raymi, the Incas took their sacred mummies (ancient sovereigns) to the main square of Cusco. The Spaniards replaced this custom with the images of saints and virgins.

3. Enjoy the dances

The day before the procession in the plaza de armas we saw several dances that accompany the entrance of the saints and virgins to the cathedral. Many of them reminded me of the dances I saw in the Qoyllur Riti.

4. Listen to religious hymns in Quechua

It was the first time I witnessed a Mass in Spanish and Quechua, not only in the priest’s speech but also in the songs. Listening to them, although I did not understand the lyrics, the melody and the tone of voice are very melancholic. I think there are few opportunities that these songs can be heard and are part of our musical heritage.

How to plan your trip to Corpus Christi?

Corpus Christi does not have a fixed date in the year because it is celebrated 60 days after Resurrection Sunday (day that depends on the lunar calendar) and it is always a Thursday day. It usually falls in the month of June. In the web of EMUFEC (Municipal Company of Celebration of Cusco) they can check every year the dates of Corpus Christi and other festivities.

In the afternoon of the previous day (Wednesday) to the main date (Thursday) do not miss the dances in the parade ground while the saints come in comparsas to enter the cathedral.

For the main day, on the Thursday of the procession, early in the morning (before 9 am) you will be able to see the saints and virgins at the entrance of the cathedral. Good point to take pictures before all the faithful begin to arrive. During the procession I recommend you to reserve a table on the balconies of any restaurant in the Plaza de Armas located on the second floor. From there you have a good view of the route of all the images.

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