Peruvian Festival and Holiday Dates

There are plenty of festivals in Peru – and many unique ones in the Sacred Valley! They’re generally colourful, musical, spectacular events, and anyone is welcome to attend. To really understand Andean culture and to integrate into it, why not join in?

Peruvian National Holidays

January
1 New Year’s day

February
2 Candlemas; Folklore and dancing throughout Peru
Puno: Fiesta de la Virgen de la Candelaria, Carnival

March/April
Easter: Semana Santa (holy week)
The biggest parties are on Good Friday and on the eve of Easter Saturday

May
1 Labour day
2-3 Fiesta de la Cruz (Festival of the Cross)

June
“Corpus Christi” is celebrated 9 weeks after Maundy Thursday in half of June
24 Inti Raymi, Cusco’s main Inca festival

July
15-17 Virgen de Carmen – dancing and music in Pisac and Paucartambo
28-29 National Independence day – a big public holiday with military and school processions

October
8 Public holiday to commemorate the Battle of Angamos
18-28 Lord of Miracles Festival

November
1-7 Puno festival
1 Fiesta de Todos los Santos (All Saints Day). Public Holiday
2 Dia de los Muertos (All Souls Day), remembering of the dead.

December
8 Immaculate Conception, Public Holiday.
25 Christmas Day

Main Holidays in the Sacred Valley

January

6 Reyes Magos (Ollantaytambo)

This is a beautiful festival held in the picturesque town of Ollantaytambo each year. This festival, held on the Epiphany(January 6th), is a Christian celebration which commemorates the visit by the Three Wise Men bearing presents of gold, frankincense and myrrh shortly after Jesus’ birth. Children are often given gifts, and special foods are eaten.

March/April

Carnival

This is a week-long festival usually held some time in February. The date changes and depends on when Easter falls. Festivities begin in Pisac on the Sunday 7 weeks before Easter Sunday and continue throughout the following week in the nearby communities. Pisac’s carnival is a very colourful affair, with many dance groups from Pisac and the surrounding communities competing for prizes and community honour. Throughout the week, expect to be doused with foam or water – this is a Carnival tradition that is practised just about everywhere!

6 days before Easter Sunday Senor de los Temblores (Cusco)

This important festival takes place on the Monday before Easter Sunday and involves a religious procession around Cusco

Upcoming Easter Sunday dates: 21 April 2019, 12 April 2020

May

Santisima Cruz de Senor Choquekillca (Ollantaytambo)

Held on the Sunday before Qoyllur R’iti in the town of Ollantaytambo (actually 50 days after Easter Sunday), the fiesta includes many dances, processions, church masses, and fireworks. Unfortunately, there is also a cockfight and also a bullfight – cruel spectacles that many are trying to end. The fiesta is spread over 4 days.

June

24 -Inti Raymi (Cusco)

Possibly the biggest festival in the valley, the ‘Inca Sun Festival’ is staged at the massive ruins of Sacsayhuaman. This event is really more a pageant than a fiesta, with hundreds of locals playing the parts of Inca priests, nobles, virgins of the sun and soldiers. Getting a seat at the event can be expensive, but you can get a good idea of the festivities for free, as the procession starts at the Temple of the Sun and winds its way to the Plaza de Armas throughout the morning. Get tickets for the event here.

July

16 Virgen de Carmen (Paucartambo)

Paucartambo is a picturesque but quiet place situated in a valley above the eastern jungles, 115 km from Cusco. It’s best known for its yearly festival of the Virgen del Carmen, a very colourful local fiesta with the best traditional dances, and the most varied and exotic masks and costumes to be seen anywhere in the Cusco region

28 – Independence Day. This is a national holiday, and the most spectacular parades can be seen in Cusco.

August

15 Virgen Asunta (Qoya, Calca). These two towns host several days of dancing, music, food and craft stalls.

September

8 Virgen de Natividad (Chinchero)

The Virgen de Natividad is celebrated in many small villages throughout Peru on the 8th September. In the Cusco region one of the largest festivals is held in Chinchero.

14  Señor de Huanca

Plenty of local fiestas occur on this date, with cumbia music, drinking and dancing

November

1-2 All Saints / All Souls Day – Hallowe’en is not a big deal, (though you can find some parties in Cusco) but the following two days involve some church-going and parties.

December

24 Santuranticuy (Cusco) This is a traditional fair held in the main Plaza de Armas in Cusco every Christmas Eve

25 Christmas Day – This is generally a day celebrated with family and fireworks

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