Magical Christmas Fair on Plaza de Armas in Cusco

navidad-en-cusco

One of the hightlights of the Peruvian Christmas in Cusco, is the beautiful Christmas Market  or Christmas Fair at the Plaza de Armas of Cusco.

IT’s one of the largest fair of popular arts in Peru, and takes place yearly on December 24th, from 4 a.m. on, ever since the arrival of the Spaniards in the 16th centrury.

The market is called Santuranrikuy, a Quechua word, meaning “the selling of the saints’ (in Quechua rantikuy  means ‘sale’(‘buy’), and santu, saints).


This, because originally there we only religious items for sale such as images of saints, angels, the wise man, pastors, el niño Jesus (o niño Manuelito) and other religous figures, most of them made out of clay.It’s an important tradition in Cusco and all over Peru to built natavity scenes, travelers in Peru will see many these days.

Magical Christmas Fair on Plaza de Armas  in Cusco

 

Originally, the sellers come from the nearby villages of Cusco and the Sacred Valley of the Incas, to unite at the main square of Cusco to sell their arts.

Nowadays there are many craftsmen from other Peruvian cities as well, such as Ayacucho, Puno, Arequipa and there are also some Bolivian sellers.

Some of them do bring other, non-religious ítems to the market such as metal work, knits, leather work, and others, but the Christmas theme still dominates.  Many Peruvian artisans work during a big part of the year to prepare for the Santurantikuy.

Magical Christmas Fair on Plaza de Armas  in Cusco

 

In a specific part of the Santurantikuy, you will find the ‘grass and moss’, section, eagerly bought by all Cusquenian people to decorate the floor of their nacimientos (nativity scenes) at home.

In a corner of the Plaza you can find a full-scale nativity scenes with Joseph, Mary, the Wise Men (los Reyes Magos, in Spanish) with life animals of the stable: donkeys, cows, sheep , including llamas.

The Santurantikuy Fair is an important event with a rich history, representing the best of Andean Catholicism in Peru. Therefore, it’s proclaimed a Cultural Heritage of Peru in 2009.

Magical Christmas Fair on Plaza de Armas  in Cusco

 

Of course you can also find (typical) drinks and Peruvian (street) food on this Christmas Market in Cusco.  On the surrounding streets of the Plaza de Armas you can buy with hot chocolate and typcial Peruvian ponche, an alcoholic , hot beverage to warm up the bodies of both shoppers and sellers. A favorite snack for the local Peruvian visitors is chicharón (an aromatic pork delicacy) or anticuchos: beef heart meat marinated in vinegar and spices such as garlic, salt, cumin and pepper, sold in a skewer with a boiled potato.

Magical Christmas Fair on Plaza de Armas  in Cusco

 

Together with the beautiful Christmas lights and the colonial center of Cusco itelfs with the colonial houses full of Christmas decorations, the Christmas Fair in Cusco is a great event.

No better way to experience the cheerful and traditional Peruvian Christmas atmosphere.

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