The Festivals of Peru
All About
 
Fiestas and Carnivals
The people of Peru celebrate many customs and traditions during festivals that are often called fiestas or carnivals. Throughout Peru there are about 3000 of these festivals celebrated every year. Some celebrate the saints of the Catholic Church, others honour traditional Incan beliefs.

Yunza
During February the “yunza” carnivals are celebrated in many communities in the Sierra region. A large tree, known as the yunza is planted in the community and decorated with gifts. 

The people of the community dance around the tree and try to chop it down with an ax or large knife. The couple that succeeds in bringing the tree down will plant next year’s yunza.


Inti Raymi
The Inti Raymi or Festival of the Sun is the second largest in all of South America. Hundreds of thousands of people come to Cuzco from all over Peru, South America and other parts of the world in June for a week long celebration that marks the beginning of a new year.
Every day for a week, events like expositions, street fairs and people parading and dancing in the streets. In the evening, live music from the best of Peruvian musical groups brings thousands of people to the Plaza de Armas for concerts. 

The most important part of the festival is the all-day celebration on June 24, the actual day of Inti Raymi. On this day, the ceremonial recreation of the Incan ceremony begins.  Here, an actor selected to be Sapa Inca [the emperor of the Incas thought to be a god by the people] calls on the blessing of the sun.
 
The Sapa Inca is then carried on a golden throne to the ancient fortress of Sacsayhuamán, in the hills above Cuzco. All the high priests, officials of the court, nobles and others, wearing elaborate costumes that show their position follow in the procession. The ceremony continues until night with dancing around a large fire.

Feast of Corpus Christi
The people of the Andes celebrate this feast every year at the end of June. It lasts for eight days. Large statues of the saints that are kept in the churches are dressed in ornate costumes and then paraded through the streets. After eight days they are returned to the church they started. The largest of the Corpus Christi feasts occur in large cities like Cuzco.

Celebrations in the Andes
The Inca people and other native groups that now live in the mountains of Peru followed many unique customs and celebrations. The Sun, Earth and mountains were traditional highly honoured by all of these people.

People of the Andes carry offerings of statues, incense, crops and llama fat to the mountains and leave these in special places. The offerings are called “despachios” and may be bought in village markets. Sometimes these offerings involve the entire community going to leave offerings as part of a fiesta.
Fiestas and Festivals of the Andes

Celebrations in the Amazon
In the Amazon, people have a special respect for the animals and plants in the rainforest. Rainforest people often use paints on their bodies in religious ceremonies honouring these animals and plants. 

A common belief in the Amazon region is that some people, called shamans, have special abilities. These special powers might be, for example, the ability to heal the sick or injured by using special plants or medicines. Some shamans believe they have the power to communicate with animals and plants. Shamans are important in many celebrations in the Selva region because they are believed to bring peace and harmony between people and nature.

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