The feast of Corpus Christi in the City of Cusco is one of the great and important celebrations, where people from all regions and districts of Cusco come to be part of this great festival. Everything goes back to the time of the Incas, when they performed processions of the mummies of their deceased around the city. All this changed with the arrival of the Spaniards, they perceived this custom, which they took as something pagan; Then they decided to change the mummies for virgins or Catholic saints. Some chroniclers comment that the Incas hid their mummies under the virgins or saints that went out on litters for the processions, in this way they did not lose their traditions.
From that moment, the Catholic processions remained in tradition until today. The traditional celebration of Corpus Christi in Cusco has been for years, nowadays it has the presence of foreigners who appreciate this kind of festivities. The party begins one day before the central day with the well-known “entrance”, it is so called because the 15 saints that are in the city, make their entrance to the parade ground by means of a small procession accompanied by very colorful dances, bands of musicians and the people of each place, all this to make the respectful greeting to the body of Christ. The saints that always stand out in the entrance are the patron saint of San Jerónimo and the Patrón de San Sebastián, since they are heading in a race for those who arrive first at the parade ground, since both are far from the city center.
When the central day arrives, the celebration begins with the mass from morning hours and then leaves in procession through the main streets of the City of Cusco. After the tour, the 15 saints and virgins return to the cathedral to be saved, according to some ancient people, the saints inside the cathedral are talking about the problems of each place they come from and try to solve it. After this, the Carguyoc of each saint make a party where they dance, laugh, sing and enjoy the celebrations that took place. Also, national and foreign visitors usually join and participate in the celebrations.
There are 4 main reasons why you should be a part of this beautiful party, and these are:
Eat the delicious Chiriuchu: It is the only celebration in which they prepare this ancient and traditional stew of Cusco, although you can also find it in certain restaurants, but you will not see it in abundance as on this day. It is a cold dish that carries guinea pig, corn tortilla, sausage meat, chicken, jerky, toast, cochayuyo and fish egg. The prices vary according to the portion and what the vendors establish.
The colorful dances: The dances are always present in religious celebrations and it is because they want to show joy and happiness of the parties. The central day each saint comes with his best dances to show in honor of the Body of Christ.
Participate in a celebration that has Inca roots: As we mentioned earlier, this festival was born because of the processions that the Incas made with the mummies and because it is something that we carry in our roots and that we should maintain these customs.
The mass in the native language Quechua: As in some places of Cusco the mass is done in Castilian and Quechua, for example in the Sacred Valley, here on the central day they do the same, the priest gives the mass in both languages and You will not only hear Quechua in the mass, also in the songs during the procession and in some dances.
After the celebration of the central day, the day of the eighth is expected so that the saints can return to their places of origin through small processions of each one. This day the new Carguyoc is designated for the coming year.