Holy Week, the week before and including Easter, is a very important celebration in Catholic countries like Peru. On this holiday, not only manifestations of faith can be observed but also of popular culture, especially in places like Cusco which keep a tradition of fusion between the Andean and Western culture. This is a week in which there is no lack of local cuisine, family unity, and faith of hundreds of people who attend processions and masses.
The religious holiday officially begins with Palm Sunday, the Sunday that precedes Holy Week; in 2020 it falls on April 5. On this day, families go to the mass that is given in all the churches of the city and take a palm leaf which is blessed by the priest in charge. The leaf is then placed on the back of the doors of the in memory of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem before his crucifixion.
Then follows the busiest day and, for some, the most important of the celebration, Holy Monday. This is the first day of the procession for he that is considered the patron and protector of the city of Cusco: the “Taytacha” or Lord of the Tremors. This venerated image represents Jesus in a way more similar to Andeans, thanks to his darker skin. It is believed that during a great tremor that hit the city decades ago, this statue managed for the first time to bring together people from different social classes. Thus, this is a symbol of religious unity and fervor.
Next, we have Holy Thursday, the day on which the “twelve dishes” are shared. Here, Cusco families meet and prepare different recipes from appetizers and main courses to desserts. These are made based on local ingredients such as trout, which is accompanied with native potatoes and rice, or tarwi that is stewed together with cheese to obtain a simple but delicious meal, or wheat with which a very hot soup is prepared to combat the cold of the mountains. There is also no shortage of sweets such as quince compote, sweet empanadas, sweet bread, and maicillos that are made with cornstarch and melt in the mouth once they are tasted.
The holiday we have described is an excellent opportunity to get to know the culture and to feel Andean. We invite you to visit Cusco and learn first hand about the traditions that make this a unique place. If you would like more information or would like to stay at our hotel, please write to email@example.com or leave us a comment with your questions and impressions.