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FESTIVALS IN PERU

JANUARY

Marinera Festival Place: La Libertad
Date: 14 Jan - 29 Jan
The club Libertad, one of the more prestige institutions in Trujillo, is in charge to organize the National Marinera Contest. Every year the northern city of Trujillo is filled with happiness, rhythm and color along marinera music. And that is because thousands of couples from all over the country come to the Mansiche Coliseum in order to participate in the National Marinera Contest. Having its Hispanic, Indian and African origins, marinera represents the essence of our cultural roots. This dance represents a flirting, a seduction game between a man that imitates the grace and elegance of our Peruvian Paso horse and a woman who is coquettish, arrogant, and delicate. He wears a linen poncho and straw hat; she wears a silk blouse and a long and very full skirt that follows her movements. Both, dancing along a cajon and a guitar, agitate their white handkerchiefs for almost five minutes of magic, music and joy.

FEBRUARY

Candelaria Virgin Place: Puno
Date: 1 - 18 Feb
Every year, in February, the city of Puno, South of Peru and by the Titicaca Lake, turns into a great festivity to honor the Candelaria Virgin. This is a domestic and international well-known popular-religious festivity. Here we honor the Pachamama or mother earth, a relationship with nature that comes from many centuries ago, and that is closely related to pre-Hispanic sowing and harvesting cycles as well as with the area's mining activity. During this festivity, different activities take place such as processions, folkloric shows and parades, while quechua, aymara and, Creole communities show their finest costumes, very bright and colorful, in an unbelievable folkloric display. During the main parade, about 82 original dance groups with their typical costumes and 66 dance groups with their bright costumes cover the place with music and happiness. More than 25,000 musicians and dancers go along the streets in an endless party.

APRIL

Holly Week Place: Ayacucho
Date: 1 - 8 Apr
The city of Ayacucho, South of Peru, is internationally famous for its spectacular Holly Week celebration. It is also known as the city of churches, as well as by its beautiful handcrafts with a very religious influence, made of Huamanga stone. Ayacucho with its 33 churches welcomes thousands of tourists anxious to see the most Andean Via Crusis fervent dramatization. Every day, in all the city streets we find faithful people carrying old saints images in processions. At Easter Sunday dawn, the most awaited moment, is when Resurrected Christ comes out of the Cathedral. A very emotional moment filled with faith. The main square is illuminated by thousands of candles and bonfires, creating a warm atmosphere.

Peruvian Paso Horse Contest Place: Lima
Date: 19 - 22 Apr
The contest takes place in Mamacona, at the foot of the pre-Inca Pachacamac oracle. The event lasts a week, starting Monday and ending Sunday. Throughout the week, the horses and their riders compete in the different categories and during the evenings Creole parties are organized. On Sunday, the winners parade in front of the multitudinous crowds. The national competition is reproduced in diverse areas and regions of the country.

MAY

International Adventure Sports Festival Lunahuana Place: Lima
Date: 27 - 28 May
Aldea (Asociacion Latinoamericana de Deportes de Aventura) is an institution dedicated to promoting and spreading Adventure Tourism, Ecotourism and Adventure Sports, as well as the promotion of tourist places suitable for developing these activities. It has organized for more than fifteen years the Adventure Sports Festival in Lunahuana Valley (Canhete, Lima). An event that gathers the best sportsmen of the region. Here, in Lunahuana, the Rafting competition (raft and kayak), Rock climbing (artificial rocks) and Mountain Biking takes place every year.

JUNE

Saint John Festival Place: Loreto
Date: 23 - 25 Jun
Saint John festivity is a proof of the Spanish influence in the Peruvian Amazon. It is the most important festivity in the whole Jungle because it symbolizes faith renewal by the figure of John The Baptist (he baptized Jesus on the Jordan river and he preached his gospel) and the power of water as the main element in the area. In cities like Iquitos, located in the department of Loreto, and Pucallpa, located in the department of Ucayali, inhabitants go towards the nearest river or lake in order to purify themselves in the water. During this celebration we can appreciate unique musical festivals and typical dances, as well as agro-industrial and handcraft expositions. You can also find typical dishes as famous Juanes (rice tamales) that represent the saint's head.

Inti Raymi Place: Cusco
Date: 24 Jun
Inti Raymi or the Sun festivity is the most important celebration in this part of the continent. Every June 24, tourists from all over the world gather around Sacsayhuaman fortress, located a few minutes from Cusco in order to experience a legend, a ritual-ceremonial show filled with incomparable cultural richness. The sons of the Empire were afraid that the Sun God, source of life, would disappear from the universe, and in order to avoid such event they implored him to stay in order to remove hunger away from the Tawantinsuyo. This is the essence of the festivity that celebrates the arrival of winter solstice. In this day, the Inca becomes again the supreme ruler, and the sun is the divinity that everybody claims to for abundant harvest. To begin the ceremony, the Inca, wearing his finest clothes and carrying his scepter and his shield, enters carried by his subjects that represent the people from the four suyos or cardinal points in the former Inca Empire. Two llamas are sacrificed to honor the Pachamama or mother earth, while dancers display their abilities along drums, chanting praises toward the sun.

JULY

Del Carmen Virgin Place: Cusco
Date: 16 Jul
In Paucartambo, at 110 km from Cusco, we celebrate Del Carmen Virgin or Mamacha Carmen festivity. She is the mother of mestizos, that is to say those children born from Spaniards and native mothers. During the celebration, we can appreciate a colorful parade filled with music, choirs that sing in Quechua and groups that represent different Peruvian history dramatizations. On the main day, the image of the Virgin goes on procession by the town streets blessing the participants and scare away the demons that practice risky pirouettes over the roofs. The war between the faithful and the demons is a show that mixes paganism and faith. The grand finale is a war against demons in which the faithful triumph.

Independence Day Place: All country
Date: 28 - 29 Jul
Across the country, Peruvians throw parties and hold patriotic celebrations to remember the Declaration of Peru's Independence (July 28, 1,821) by the Libertador José de San Martín. On the night of July 27, Peruvians often stage serenades to the strains of folk and Creole music in plazas and public parks. Dawn on July 28 is greeted with a salvo of 21 cannons, to herald the ceremony of raising the flag. On the following day, the famous military parade is held in downtown Lima, attended by the president.

AUGUST

Cruz de Chalpon Place: Lambayeque
Date: 1 - 7 Aug
The town of Motupe is located at 90 kilometers north of Chiclayo, in the department of Lambayeque, on Peru's northern coast. And as many places in our country, its history is related to a religious event. Chalpon mountain is located at about 10 kilometers from Motupe. It is a very difficult access mountain. The history of Chalpon Cross comes from the XVII century, when a hermit religious placed a wooden cross that saved the town from a great flood. Since then, the spot where the cross was found became a peregrination place where thousands of believers go to thank for favors granted. On the main festivity day there is a procession, a multitudinous display of devotion that can only be compared with the one offer to Senhor de Los Milagros (Lord of Miracles) in Lima. That same day, at night you can find fireworks, musical bands which create a party atmosphere, typical northern food tasting, as well as Peruvian Paso Horses exhibitions.

SEPTEMBER

Spring International Festival Place: La Libertad
Date: 20 - 24 Sep
Trujillo, capital of the department of La Libertad, is a cheerful and binging city, birthplace of northern marinera and Peruvian Paso Horse land. Year after year, the city gathers a great number of domestic and international tourists to what has become one of the most important events of the region: the Spring International Festival. This Festival is a potpourri of cultural and social activities among which we can point out the election of the Spring beauty queen, musical shows, bull fights and Peruvian Paso Horse presentations. We can also find classical and popular music concerts, ballet shows, fashion shows, as well all kind of expositions: handcrafts, engravings, paintings, and farming products. The main attraction is the traditional allegoric cars parade where national and international beauty queens welcome the audience's enthusiastic greetings. There are also baton twirlers that leave the public speechless because of their skill and ability.

OCTOBER

Lord of the Miracles Procession Place: Lima
Date: All month
This image gathers around it the largest number of devotees in South America. It dates back to colonial times, when a black slave painted it on the walls of a run-down property. In spite of earthquakes and attempts at erasing it, the miraculous image has remained intact. Thousands of believers dressed in purple habits sing and pray to accompany the image in procession. It is a date to enjoy "Turrón de Doña Pepa" (a nougat) and delicious "Picarones" (ring-shaped fritters). To honor the Black Christ, bull fighting at Plaza de Acho, gathers the most prestigious bullfighters of Spain and the Americas.

DECEMBER

Immaculate Conception Place: Arequipa
Date: 7 - 10 Dec
On December 8, the Colca Valley, located four hours away from Arequipa, is dressed to celebrate the Immaculate Conception Festivity. It is a singular show filled with dances and color. Men wear female dresses in order to get closer to women and take them away. Coming to the valley during this season is the best excuse to visit its 16 baroque churches, the pleasant thermal waters from La Calera, the incredible agriculture platforms built along the world's deepest canyon, and to appreciate the wonderful condor's flight, over 3000 m.a.s.l, from The Cross viewpoint.