Qoyllur Rit’i and other important festivals take place in June in Cusco

Qoyllur Rit’i and other important festivals take place in June in Cusco

During the month of June, Cusco and its surrounding areas turn into one big, continuous fiesta. Cusco flags adorn the main Plaza de Armas, traditional music is played continuously, and kids practice their dances in the main squares. All of these details remind the people every day that it is the most important month of the year for Cusco with important festivals, such as: Qoyllur Rit´i, Corpus Christi, and Inti Raymi. The first celebration, Qoyllur Rit´i, is the largest Native Indian celebration in the Americas and takes place in the Sinakara Valley in the southern Andes of Peru.
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The Q´eswachaka Bridge Festival

The Q´eswachaka Bridge Festival

The famous bridge of Q´eswachaka is located across the Apurimac River in Southern Peru and it was built to allow Incas to pass from one side to the other of the Qhapaq Nan road system. During the Inca times there would have been laborers employed just for the daily maintenance of the bridge. They would have also been responsible for defending against invaders and monitoring who passed the bridge. Whenever Pizzaro, the Spanish conquistador, started heading for Cuzco, this bridge was destroyed in attempt to detain him. However, many years later the bridge was reconstructed and continues to be kept in good condition with this significant festival each year. The word “Q’eswachaka” actually consists of two Quechua words – Quechua is the original native language of the Incas, still spoken by many people in Peru: “Q’eswa” which means “to braid” and “Chaka” means “Bridge”.
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Funny facts about the Incas of Peru

Funny facts about the Incas of Peru

Peru is a country rich with an incredible fascinating history. Especially the Inca culture captures the imagination and attention of people from all over the world and many people travel from far and wide to explore the countless ruins of the ancient Inca empire in Peru and to the city of Cusco, the old capital of this Inca Empire. Peruvian people and above all the people in Cusco are very proud of their ancestors. If you decided to study Spanish in Peru, this is a unique opportunity to learn many interesting facts about the Peruvian history from your Spanish teachers in Peru. But if you’re only visiting Peru and traveling around, the tour guides in Cusco will be more than happy to tell you about Inca history.
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Cusco´s Celebration of Semana Santa

Cusco´s Celebration of Semana Santa

Travelling to Cusco, Peru is an adventure in itself, but if you are there during Semana Santa, Holy Week, you are in for a real treat. This week of celebration is a very significant time for the people of Cusco. The most important day of the week being Holy Monday that marks the remembrance of the city´s patron, Señor de los Temblores, Lord of the Earthquakes. It is this day that the powerful and revered shrine comes out of the Cathedral and bestows its blessing upon all of the people. His power was shown in 1650 whenever there was an earthquake. It is said that the people prayed to this shrine and as they did, the earthquake stopped. From that day on, this shrine of Christ has been called Lord of the Earthquakes and has been credited for saving the lives of many.

Incan and Catholic beliefs mix during this compelling event. Before the Spaniards came, the Incan people would worship the sun. Specifically during Inti Raymi, they would take out mummies from their temples and carry them on altars all throughout the city. Later on the King of Spain ordered for the mummies to be replaced with saints and virgins. Now one day out of the year, the Señor de los Temblores, as a shrine of Jesus hanging on a cross, is taken out of the temple and carried all throughout the city of Cusco. People from all over the city, along with foreigners, come to receive the blessings that the shrine gives and to see this great spectacle. The people believe that worshipping the Señor de los Temblores will keep them safe from all harmful earthquakes.
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Valentine’s Day in South America

san-valentine-day

Valentine’s Day is celebrated worldwide as a day of love and romance. It originates in Roman times, when Emperor Claudius II banned marriage and a young priest called Valentine continued to marry couples in secret. He was caught and put in prison, where he fell in love with a girl. He wrote her a love letter before he died – this was the world’s first Valentine!

Nowadays, Valentine’s Day is celebrated all over the world on February 14th, – also in Latin America! And here ‘El Día de San Valentín’ is not just a celebration of romantic love, but also of love between friends, colleagues and family. On this day, often called ‘El Dia del Amor y la Amistad’ (the Day of Love and Friendship), people exchange gifts and caring words with all the people that are important in their lives.
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When in Peru, eat like the Peruvians! Cuy:the most controversial Andean Delicacy

Cuy, the most controversial andean delicacy

Everyone who visits Peru will soon be faced with the opportunity to sample one of Peru’s most controversial Andean delicacies (at least to tourists), the notorious guinea pig known as “Cuy”.

The exact history of the guinea pig as an important dietary source has been hard to decipher, perhaps due to the small size of their bones, but some archaeologists claim that omestication of these small rodents may have begun as early as 10,000 BC in the Altiplano region of Southern Peru.

Apparently, cuy are very adaptable to their environment though highly vulnerable to drastic changes in climate. This probably is the reason that they particularly enjoy the comforts of living indoors, most often in the kitchen where they are given leftovers, although they prefer and thrive on alfalfa. Quite some families will have as many as 20 cuy and treat them much the same as chickens.
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Coca Culture in the Ancient Andes

Coca culture in the ancient andes

Within Andean mythology, nature is hugely important as a representation of a Deity. This can be shown in the Andean peoples’ relationship with the landscape, including mountains, animals and plants. With some of these they attributed sacred meanings and established communication and intricate rituals and ceremonies that have stood the test of time and still exist today.

Many plants native to the Andean people that have this sacred meaning and exemplify this means of communication with the Andean “Mother Nature” and self-exploration is the San Pedro cactus, or Wachuma, the Amazonian Ayahuasca and of course, the coca leaf. One of the reasons for taking these plants was to explore one’s own direction and spiritual journey.
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