Cusco Fiesta & Festival Dates
Reyes Magos (Ollantaytambo) (06 January)
A beautiful festival held in the picturesque town of Ollantaytambo each year. The Reyes Magos (or Magi in English) are more commonly referred to as Three Wise Kings (generally known as Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar). This festival, held on 06 January (Epiphany), is a Christian celebration which commemorates the visit by the Three Wise Men bearing presents of gold, frankincense and myrrh shortly after Jesus' birth.
Carnival (Cusco & the Scared Valley) Date Variable (7 weeks before Easter)
Carnival in a week-long religious festival usually held some time in February. The date is moveable and depends on Easter. Festivities commence in Pisac on the Sunday 7 weeks before Easter Sunday and continue throughout the following week in the nearby communities.
The carnival at Pisac is a very colourful affair with many dance groups from Pisac and the surrounding communities competing for prizes and community honour.
Senor de los Temblores (Cusco) (6 days before Easter Sunday)
This important festival takes place on the Monday before Easter Sunday. This religious procession around Cusco dates back to the earthquake of 1650
Easter is a Christian holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead three days after his crucifixion on Good Friday and marking the end of the Lent. Easter is a moveable event and depends on the equinoxes and the moon phases (the first Sunday after the full moon which follows the Spring equinox in the northern hemisphere!)
Upcoming Easter Sunday dates: 16 April 2017, 01 April 2018, 21 April 2019, 12 April 2020
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). El Senor de Choquekillca is the town's patron saint. The fiesta includes many dances, processions, church masses, fireworks, a cockfight and also a bullfight. The fiesta is spread over 4 days.
Qoyllur R'iti (Ausangate) (A few days before Corpus Christi)
Qoyllur Rit'i in Quechua means 'Snow Star'; a name reminiscent of the festival's pre-Columbian origins, and often said to be a pre-Inca fertility rite. Qoyllur Riti is raw culture: an intense, noisy, extremely cold, unsanitary, and often confusing festival held at the base on a mountain glacier. It attracts devout pilgrims from all over the Cusco region and hosts thousands of dancers. The festival is being slowly spoilt by commercialism and tourism and is not suitable for the typical visitor to Peru.
Corpus Christi (Cusco)
Held on a Thursday 60 days after Easter Sunday. Corpus Christi in Latin literally means the "Body of Christ" and is a Christian festival held in honour of the Holy Eucharist (the sacramental re-enactment of what Jesus did at his Last Supper in giving his disciples bread, saying "This is my body," and the cup, saying "This is my blood.").
Inti Raymi (Cusco) (24 June)
The 'Inca Sun Festival' of June 24th is the Big One for tourists. It is staged at the massive ruins of Sacsayhuaman, above the city. 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. The coveted role of the Inca Pachacuti is awarded following lengthy auditions. Guaranteeing a seat at the event in Sacsayhuaman can be an expensive affair but you can get a good idea of the festivities for free since the procession starts at the Temple of the Sun and winds its way to the Plaza de Armas throughout the morning.
Virgen de Carmen (Paucartambo) (16 July)
Paucartambo is a picturesque but quiet place situated in a valley above the eastern jungles, 115 km from Cusco. It is 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
Independence Day (Cusco) (28 July)
Virgen Asunta (Qoya) (15 August)
The town of Qoya is located between Pisac and Calca in the Sacred Valley of the Incas
Virgen Asunta (Calca) (15 August)
The town of Calca is located between Pisac and Calca in the Sacred Valley of the Incas
Virgen de Natividad (Chinchero) (08 September)
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.
Señor de Huanca (Lord of Huanca) (14 September)
All Saints / All Souls Day (01 & 02 November)
Santuranticuy (Cusco) (Christmas Eve 24 December)
Santuranticuy is a traditional fair held in the main Plaza de Armas in Cusco every Christmas Eve (24 December).
Virgen de la "O" (Yucay) (Christmas)
Virgen de la o festival celebrations, Yucay, Christmas, Cusco, Peru