Santurantikuy in Cusco, Andean Christmas in Cusco

Santurantikuy Cusco, Christmas holidays in Cusco

In these holiday, ancestral customs are combined with the Catholic tradition left by the first Spaniards to arrive in those lands.

One of the most touristic cities in Peru, and why not say it in the world, is Cusco. And perhaps that is one of the reasons why each holiday is usually celebrated with special vigor and color in this place.

Christmas is precisely one of those holidays that does not go unnoticed in the Imperial City and practically everyone prepares to celebrate the arrival to earth of the son of God.

But being an Andean city with indigenous traditions, this festival of Christian origin has its own particularities and ways of celebrating, since there are thousands of activities that can be done if you decide to spend these dates in the ancient capital of Tahuantinsuyo.

One of the most traditional activities that takes place in Cusco is Santurantikuy. That it is a great Christmas fair that takes place in the Plaza de Armas and dates back to the 16th century when the wealthiest families of that time came down to the place to buy their ‘chests’, box-shaped furniture for storing various objects. . Monasteries and convents throughout Cusco also acquired these artifacts.

Santurantikuy Cusco , Cusco fair in honor of the Child God

It is December in Cusco and the residents know that they must prepare because in a few days one of the most important festivities in this region will be celebrated: Santuranticuy , a traditional festival that dates back to the colonial era.

The Santurantikuy Cusco December 24 of each year

The day arrives, it is December 24, and thousands of artisans from various parts of Peru gather in the Plaza Mayor to show their best works to tourists. Angels, nativity scenes, paintings, ceramics, photographs, silverware and jewelry, the latter related to the crowns or halos of the saints, are some of the valuable objects that can be found in this festival that lasts until Christmas midnight.

The meaning of Santurantikuy in Cusco

Santurantikuy, meaning ‘sale of saints’ in Quechua, is celebrated all day and night on December 24th. In current times the sale of different objects has diversified but what stands out the most are the handicrafts of figures of various saints. Especially that of the boy Manuelito. Other things that tend to be in high demand are local food and the drink called ‘ponche’, which is usually served very hot.

Artisans from all the surrounding regions usually come to the historic center of Cusco with their products to offer them to the thousands of people who come there year after year so as not to miss such an eye-catching spectacle.

When the Santurantikuy was created

This fair was proclaimed the nation’s cultural heritage on September 22, 2009. One of the main reasons for this recognition is that it is one of the most colorful legacies left by Catholicism in the southern Andean region of Peru.

Because it is Christmas time, the best-selling crafts are those related to the arrival of the ‘Niño Manuelito’, the same ones that serve to decorate the nativity scenes that are put together in Cusco homes.

Handycrafts at the Santurantikuy Cusco fair

Other crafts that are usually very well received by the public that comes to this fair are the so-called ‘illusions’. These are small objects that one desires in real life and serve as an amulet to make them come true. They are made of wool, wood, plaster or other material.

About the “Misa del Gallo” in Cusco

Another of the most deeply rooted customs in this corner of Peru is the Midnight Mass. For the occasion, the Cathedral Basilica of Cusco opens its doors wide for the traditional Christmas Eve mass on December 24.

At the end, attendees wish each other a Merry Christmas at the door of the temple and immediately go to their respective homes to exchange gifts, one of the most universal Christmas customs.

According to those who have attended a Midnight Mass in Cusco, they say that regardless of the language you speak, this is a once-in-a-lifetime cultural opportunity.

December in Cusco and the Cusco Santurantikuy

Visiting Cusco and Machu Picchu is always a success no matter what season you want to do it, and although the Imperial City has that unique something every day of the year, Christmas in Cusco has something extra special that makes it a unique and unmatched experience. .

The streets are filled with celebrations, music and fairs and a feeling of happiness that makes Peruvians and foreigners feel part of a big family.

The presence of the Catholic religion is very strong in the cities of the Peruvian mountains and Christmas traditions in Cusco include masses, processions and activities linked to the Church, in which a large number of inhabitants of the city and their communities participate. These customs are the product of the fusion between the Inca and European cultures brought by Spain during the conquest, which gives them a history rich in beliefs and rituals. One of these Christmas traditions in Cusco is that of Santurantikuy, long awaited by everyone every year.

Traditional Chocolate in Christmas

The Christmas holidays are one of the moments in which we open our hearts and try to share with those who need it most. That is why as part of our year-end activities we schedule a group activity with which we bring a moment of joy to a low-income community with a live show that we accompany with hot chocolate, sweet breads and some presents.

If you are one of the enthusiasts, we invite you to be part of this activity or if you wish, you can simply send a donation that we will gladly send on your behalf to these distant communities.

Christmas in Cusco or Machu Picchu

Christmas is a religious celebration that does not always go hand in hand with our beliefs, fortunately this will not be a problem on your trip, since Cusco and Machu Picchu also offer a wide variety of activities and luxury or adventure experiences during December and all year round, you just need to decide what type of trip you want to take.

You can visit the Citadel of the Incas on a morning or sunset tour, enjoy the fabulous gastronomy of Cusco, visit the Sacred Valley or take a few days of true rest and comfort with our Unmissable Luxury packages designed to offer you the best experience. possible.

Dinners scheduled with shows in the best hotels in the city of Cusco

Whether to welcome Christmas or the New Year, the best hotels in the city such as the Palacio del Inca, the Marriott hotel, the Hilton Garden, among others, offer luxurious celebration dinners accompanied by live music and dance among people from all over the world. all parts of the world.

Christmas Tours in Cusco:

During the festive period, many of the traditional activities, in addition to occupancy , tend to be saturated between the second half of December and the first half of January. Don’t forget to make your reservations well in advance and if not, make your options a little more flexible. but don’t miss out on visiting Cusco during this time of year. Remember that Cusco as an eminent tourist destination never stops.

Check here for our New Year’s Eve party package, whether for the Christmas or New Year holidays.

Our Christmas Tour, exclusive for December 24, will allow you to tour the Christmas market in the Plaza de Armas, the main art workshops in the San Blas neighborhood and the main points where you can take the most beautiful photographs during these festivities.

Interesting Facts about Christmas in Cusco

Did you know that the Christmas holidays coincide with the celebration of the hatun Raymi, a solar celebration exclusive to the Cusco elite in Inca time that took place on the summer solstice, that is, December 21 of each year.

Take into account that both on December 25 and January 1 the streets generally remain deserted as Cusqueña families celebrate at home, but be careful our services never stop.

Christmas music or traditional Cusco Christmas carols:

Cusco, as one of the oldest cities in all of Peru, receiving all the Spanish influence, developed its own songs for this festive date, songs that are generally a classic mix of huayno (a clearly Andean rhythm), Inca ceremonial music and baroque music. Spanish resulted in a variety of songs that in Cusco homes are more classic than Gingle Bells heard around the world. In the following video you can hear more of these original Christmas carols.

The weather in Cusco in the month of December:

If you have decided to spend your vacation in Cusco during the month of December, you should remember that December is in practice the beginning of the rainy period in the city of Cusco and that it is likely that during your tour or activities you will encounter sudden precipitation. , we recommend always being prepared with an umbrella or waterproof clothing. Apart from this, however, consider that December is not a cold month that could even be called mild.