Holy Week in Perú

The celebrations of Holy Week have a deep roots in the Peruvian population and its customs because of its historical tradition that came from Spain and that over the years has acquired different nuances of its own. It is a time of reflection and recollection in which many Peruvians show their Christian faith.

«Holy Week or Week of Sorrows», as it was called in Peru since colonial times, was the main religious festival in the Catholic calendar. The Week of Sorrows is a community and intimate experience that has taken place in this country since the arrival of the Spanish and the Christianization of pre-Hispanic societies. In the 16th century, both the religious orders and the first bishops made an effort to teach the indigenous the doctrinal principles of this celebration, for this they used the representations about the sacrifice of Jesus – stories, songs and processions – as an element to affirm their incorporation into the Church. Today this celebration is solidly established in society and involves all the country’s inhabitants, believers and non-believers.

Holy Week is the most important religious and cultural holiday in the Christian calendar and in Perú each province has its own traditions. But, how does Perú celebrate Easter?

The religious fervor, the devotion and the festivities at Holy Week in different departments of Perú are enough reasons for hundreds of tourists to dare to travel. You can be one of them and enjoy the joy that characterizes our country in commemoration of one of the greatest religious celebrations.

Do you want to know which are the best places to witness and participate in cultural festivities? Here we tell you everything you need to know about the next destinations so you can prepare your bags.

How does Perú celebrate Easter?

Holy Week in Ayacucho

It is the most important festival in the Ayacucho region and one of the most outstanding in Latin America. The celebration begins with the procession of the Lord of the Agony, the Virgen Dolorosa, Verónica and San Juan.

Passion Saturday, the staging of the passion of Christ is performed and the palms are distributed free of charge to the attending public.

Palm Sunday, Christ comes out on a donkey, the llamas carry dry broom that will be burned on Resurrection Sunday. On Monday the Lord of the Garden procession leaves, on Tuesday the Lord of the Sentence, Wednesday the encounter between Christ, his mother and Mary Magdalene is represented and on Thursday the churches are visited.

On Good Friday the procession of Santo Selpulcro and on Saturday of glory, is Easter and the festival is celebrated in all its splendor. The fair reaches its peak in the Cerrito de Acuchimay.

Easter Sunday, the most important procession. They carry the Christ on a litter, lit by candles and the broom is burned. While people dance and sing around in the square. Also, one of the most celebrated dishes is the pataca or patahca accompanied by some chaplas.

How to get?

From Lima to Ayacucho, the bus ticket costs around 50 soles. The average time to get there is 21 hours.

What places can I visit in Ayacucho?

The first thing is to do a city tour and take the tour of the churches. Many of them are very old and surprising. Other places to visit are the town of La Quinua, famous for its crafts and the Historic Sanctuary of the Pampa de la Quinua. Also take advantage of going to the ruins of Wari, Cangallo and Vilcashuamán. Do not forget to buy a beautiful altarpiece, it is the best of its crafts. Finally, remember that the best time to visit the region is between November and April.

Holy Week in Omate, Moquegua

Holy Week in Omate in the Moquegua region is one of the most important in the country. It was declared Cultural Heritage of the Nation by the National Institute of Culture in 2010. The main image of this festivity is the Lord of the Piedades and Quinistacas, which is supported by the cross with four nails and not three. On Good Thursday and Friday the devotees prepare seven giant posed altars, each measuring 18 to 20 meters high. The image is adorned with flowers, palm trees and olive trees. It is accompanied by songs, trees and fireworks.

The image represents the faith of the people and carries a story. When Moquegua suffered the devastation caused by the Huaynaputina eruption. He is credited with the miracle that it rained for 3 days, avoiding destruction by the ash rain that brought infertility to the lands. How to get?

Remember that, to get to Moquegua from Lima, the average travel time is 18 hours. The bus ticket costs approximately 130 soles.

Holy Week in Surco, Lima

The district of Surco performs one of the typical Holy Weeks of Lima. The community shows up in the streets and takes olive trees to the central square of Surco. The elaboration of the bouquets that accompany the Lord of the Holy Sepulcher and the Sorrowful Virgin stands out, which run through the Plaza de Armas.

On Holy Thursday, the penitents are men dressed in white tunics and their heads are covered with cones, they stand guard all night. On Good Friday after the three o’clock sermon, the image is taken to the Santiago Apóstol Parish. The entire event lasts nine days. From the Via Crucis to Easter Sunday.

One of the most outstanding events of this event is the floral carpet contest, held on the perimeter of the Plaza Mayor. Where surcanos participate, people from the interior of the country and a large part of Lima. The small rugs are made by groups of children and the large rugs by groups of adults, are made with different themes and colors. It is also held in the Historic Center of Lima.

La Malarrabia and Easter in Catacaos, Piura

The central festival takes place in Catacaos in Piura, the event is similar to the other Peruvian regions. The members of the event dress in black (the representatives of the brotherhood) in order to represent the mourning they keep for the death of Christ. Throughout the week various processions are organized in the main streets of the town. At the end of the procession, the participants attend to taste the rich Piura dishes of the city.

The banquet is a representation of the Last Supper. On Thursday a dinner is held at the house of the Chief Steward, who represents a disciple. Where authorities and part of the town go, to taste various dishes such as ají de gallina, cheeses, olives, chicken stew, fruits, wine and chicha.

The same thing is repeated on Good Friday, but the seven fish-based stews are presented. Especially the ceviche, crab chupe, rice with squid and the famous «malarrabia». Which is based on boiled ripe banana, seasoned with cheese accompanied by beans and fish or cooked mutton and chicha de jora. This dish is part of the beginning of Lent.

How to get?

To get to Piura from Lima, don’t forget that the prices of bus tickets cost an average of 60 soles. It will take you about 18 hours to reach your destination.

Easter in Cajamarca

Holy Week in Cajamarca takes place in Porcón where the procession of crosses is celebrated, also in Contumazá, Cajabamba and Hualgayoc. In Contumazá, interpretations are carried out in the streets on Holy Thursday and they pretend to be black and white penitents, who leave at dawn on Good Friday. Then they go to the cemetery and greet each other to continue.

The festival of the crosses of Porcón (14 km from the city of Cajamarca), the ferigreses gather in the middle of the square. They are emblems made of wood and reeds 2 to 3 meters high, with flowers and other striking ornaments. At noon the porters carry the cross staging Christ, while the faithful follow him step by step until they reach the chapel. People go drinking chicha and at the end there is a tasting of typical Cajamarca dishes.

How to get?

From Lima to Cajamarca, the bus ticket costs around 80 soles. The time to arrive is approximately 16 hours.

Holy Week in Trujillo, La Libertad

In Trujillo, the most representative image is the image of the Lord of Mercy. On Holy Thursday they prepare an altar decorated and illuminated until dawn. The Brotherhood prepares the ceremony, offers the faithful the keys to the temple of the city. On Good Friday, some people enter dressed in black as a sign of mourning. In the center the Christ is presented on the cross, at three in the afternoon the sermon of the Seven Words is given. Twelve people dressed in white unlock the image and take the Sorrowful Virgin and put it in a glass urn. Then they go out in procession.

Holy Week Moche is one of the most celebrated in the north, people wait for the change of the crosses, the craft and gastronomic fairs where the theological soup stands out among the typical dishes of La Libertad.

How to get?

To Trujillo, from Lima, the trip takes about 10 hours. You can find the bus ticket with prices starting at 30 soles.

Holy Week in Pampacolca, Yanahuara – Arequipa

The most outstanding feature of Pampacolca is the making of the Montealtares for Good Friday. The families design montealtares with flowers, willow branches, fruits, fabrics and paintings. The first four are prepared with the same structure, others prefer to give importance to ornaments such as crossing and illuminations. The fifth and sixth montealtar are designed for the central door of the church and the mayors are in charge.

In addition, the celebrations continue in Yanahuara and in the historic city of Arequipa. On Thursday there is a tour of the churches and stagings of the crucifixion of Jesus are performed. On Good Friday, it is celebrated with typical desserts such as mazamorra de chancaca, with rice pudding, cornstarch, among others, and the traditional Friday chupe dish is also prepared. In Yanahuara you can see the fireworks from the Mirador and taste the Easter soup. You can find this dish in most of Arequipa’s picanterías.

Holy Week in Huaraz, Ancash

Holy Week in Huaraz is distinguished by the staging and presentation of its litters. The tour is long and ends in the main square of the city. On the other hand, in the Marca community in Recuay, there is a competition or puja of the saints and the force to carry the cumuchi or Jesus crucified. This act takes place inside the church. The winner presents all turbans, tunics, ornaments and sashes.

The cumuchies is a crucifix over five feet high. On Thursday people decorate the arch with flowers and the image is located in the center. Then the 12 men who will carry the central image are chosen. On Good Friday the image is carried throughout the town. Which is adorned with flowers and candles. The procession is accompanied by the entire town and many tourists come to see the ceremony.

Easter in Cusco

Holy week in Cusco begins prior to Easter. Various events are held that demonstrate the passion, death and resurrection of Christ, showing the traditions of the community. One of the most important celebrations in the Cusco region is the procession of the Señor de los Tembloreso Taytacha Temblores. On Thursday twelve beggars in the city are washed feet. Churches are visited on Thursday. Good Friday is celebrated in the same way as the Ayacucho region, the Cristo Moreno is carried on litters along with the Virgen Dolorosa. People accompany the procession and go tasting delicious typical stews, Torta or Jurk’a bread, maicillos and local products. It is a party that brings a mixture of the two worlds.

Holy Week in Jalca Grande, Chachapoyas – Amazonas

The highlight of Holy Week in Chachapoyas (Amazonas) are the bells that are tied as a sign of mourning and the staging of the passion of Christ. The act concludes when Christ is unclaimed from the cross by four people dressed in white, called Holy Men. That day the community does not work and does not make noise. To end the community shares typical dishes of the Amazon and typical music.

Now you know how does Perú celebrate Easter? You can visit any of these destinations to spend a different Easter. In addition, after the celebrations or participating in different traditions, you also have the opportunity to visit all the tourist places of Ayacucho, Cajamarca, Trujillo, Piura or Moquegua. These destinations have countless landscapes, archaeological remains, biodiversity and other attractions that will dazzle you. Take advantage of your days off and take the trip you always wanted.

Touring Peru is discovering endless mysterious places, with hidden stories in corners that you may have never seen before stepping on this country. We recommend you to visit another impressive destinations in Cusco like the tour to rainbow mountain peru or the humantay lake tour from cusco, which only takes one day. But if you are gonna to stay more days in Perú, other archaeological places you can know will be the choquequirao trek peru, the salkantay trek to machu picchu, and the classic inca trail 4 days 3 nights.

TripAdvisor Reviews

Based on 151 reviews
Fernanda L
Fernanda L
Mariela es muy especial! Fue todo perfecto! Mariela es increíble y hizo todo para que nuestro viaje fuera inolvidable. La dedicación de Mariela por su trabajo y por su familia también son muy bonitas. Eso hace todo aún más especial.
Cusco Visitei Cusco em Junho/2023 e reservei todos os passeios com a Qorianka. Equipe muito atenciosa, todos os passeios foram ótimos e bem organizados.
Da F
Da F
Perfeito!!!!! Quando fui planejar a viagem para Cusco pesquisei muito os locais que queria conhecer e as empresas que faziam os passeios, encontrei a Qorianka Tours entrei em contato e fui super bem atendida pela Mariele que esclareceu todas as minhas dúvidas. Quando estamos planejamento uma viagem sempre surgi o medo de não ser o que esperávamos, mas falo com vocês que foi melhor do que eu esperava, me surpreendeu o comprometimento, a atenção de toda a equipe que esteve comigo e com meu marido no período da viagem. Vou detalhar um pouco como foi, quando chegamos no aeroporto já tinha uma pessoa esperando para levar até o hotel, nos dias de buscar para os passeios foram todos extremamente pontuais, os guias sempre alegres e com toda atenção explicavam as histórias dos locais, os locais de café da manhã e almoço muito bom e agradáveis e no fim da viagem também nos buscaram no hotel e levaram até o aeroporto. Ficamos 9 dias em Cusco, foi uma viagem maravilhosa, um sonho realizado. Agradeço toda a equipe da Qorianka Tours que conseguiram transformar minha viagem em algo mais surpreendente do que eu espera. Se vc estiver planejando super indico a Qorianka Tours, não tem nenhum ponto negativo para reclamar. Podem confiar.
Solange Puga
Solange Puga
AGÊNCIA CONFIÁVEL!! A agencia é confiável, fiz a reserva pelo Brasil,só paguei uma pequena reserva,em um banco no Brasil,fiz o resto do pagamento diretamente com a Mariella em Cusco. Eles são honestos,mas meio informais. . No city tour,eles atrasaram, logo após 20'' de atraso eu liguei,esqueceram de nós,mas logo Mariella resolveu o problema e mandou um carro para nos levar até o grupo. Adoramos os guias de cada passeio,Aidê,Roni,Ivan e Mari,são eficientes,educados e divertidos . As Vans eram confortáveis. O hotel do pacote em Aguas Calientes,,era bom e bem localizado,foram nos buscar na estação.
Silvia P
Silvia P
7 lagunas con Diego Go!! La mejor experiencia!!! desde inicio hasta al final... cuentan con servicio de desayuno, almuerzo típico delicioso? Además de conocer y hacer amistades de otros países? y lo más importante el guía quién nos orienta e explica durante todo el trayecto.... totalmente agradecida y muy feliz Guía: Diego Suna Quispe
Rocio O
Rocio O
TOUR 7 LAGUNAS CON DIEGO GO! La mejor experiencia de la visita a las 7 lagunas además de contemplar su belleza natural fue que el guía Diego nos dejó tomarnos el tiempo necesario para captar las mejores fotografías y hacer videos, ya que estas imágenes quedarán guardadas por siempre para el recuerdo. También agradecer por la alimentación que estaba deliciosa con ingredientes propias de la zona. Un consejo para las personas que deseen aventurarse en este tour (o alguno otro, ya que el guía es experto en muchos tours) no se arrepentirán en tomarlo como guía a DIEGO GO! ( como lo bautizamos ???) su nombre real es DIEGO SUNA QUISPE
Rafa Rodriguez
Rafa Rodriguez
Todo el viaje valió la pena El viaje fue súper cansador pero llegar a la montaña de colores compensó todo el cansancio! Además con el guía Ronald aka Picasso hizo esta experiencia mucho más gratificante y hermosa!
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