The Andean region is steeped in tradition, as is all of Peru. Our historic traditions span centuries, from pre-Inca and Inca times, through the Spanish colonization and the post-Independence Republic.
And there are many manifestations of tradition that we Cusqueños and maintain and are very proud of.
Mind you, most of us are thoroughly modern people, quite comfortable in the 21st century.
Still, our traditional holidays, celebrations, customs, dances, clothing, foods, architecture, and other expressions of our rich heritage make us who we are- a people with deep emotional and spiritual ties to our amazingly diverse history and geography. And we really love sharing all of this with visitors!
Andean people and culture
What does tradition mean to Andean people? For one thing, it means that we honor and cherish our great land, just as the ancients did.
For example, an offering of a breath upon three coca leaves, known as a kintu, honors the Apus, mountain deities that protect our people and our waters- a must before before traveling.
Festivals and Activities
On a more elaborate scale, the grand Inti Raymi Festival , held in Cusco around the winter solstice in late June, is a reminder of the power and glory of the ancient Inca Empire. At that time, parades and dances take place daily over a week or more.
All Cusqueños, including local officials, schools, families and institutions take part in numerous marches and celebrations. It’s a terrific time to visit Cusco and immerse yourself in Andean culture!
Even more traditional is the Q celebration, which takes place in the high mountains south of Cusco, honoring the Ice Star.
It’s a time-honored spiritual connection between the Andean night skies, the glaciers that provide pure water and the region’s Quechua people. Few outside visitors attend this deeply devout indigenous celebration, but more are showing up every year.
Often, traditional celebrations in the Andes involve a syncretism or combination of indigenous culture and Catholic tradition.
The fantastic Festival of the Virgen del Carmen in Paucartambo over several days in July combines wildly evocative pagan costumes, parades of Andean dancers and solemn devotion to the beloved Virgin, whose beautiful image is carried in procession by the silent crowd on the last day of the Festival.
A similar celebration, on the shores of lake Titicaca in Puno, honors the Virgen de Candelaria.
Visitors to this Catholic festival in February will be thrilled by the endless parade of costumed dancers that takes place over several days.
The dances are thrilling, and some of the eerier costumes are worthy of a science-fiction blockbuster. And all this takes place in the name of tradition!
Many more traditional celebrations are spread across Peru’s holiday calendar. Every town has its own traditional celebrations.
And this must be said- traditional Peruvian food is the unavoidable feature of every traditional celebration.
Holy Week has its empanadas, its sweets and a Good Thursday family lunch with 12 specific foods. The Corpus Christi celebration has its varied traditional cold dish, chiriuchu.
Inti Raymi week features potatoes baked in rock ovens, or huateas. We can truly say that Peru is very rich in tradition, and tradition everywhere in Peru means good, hearty food and a joyous celebration!
Andean Lodges invites you to share in the wealth of traditions and celebrations that make visiting our country an experience of a lifetime. Please contact us at andeanlodges.com to find out more.
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Operation team made up of community members trained as guides, kitchen staff, housekeeping, guardianship and maintenance.