Culture, Customs

Cruz Velacuy, Cusco

One of the primary elements the Spanish have left us is the cross. This object served to impose their religion on the sacred places that existed and that had an incalculable value for the inhabitants of that time. Now the cross is part of our customs as an important symbol.

The syncretism that exists between the religious and the Andean has much for people to discuss in every traditional celebration. Cruz velacuy, one of these, has a name created from this symbiosis, the Cross—the symbol of the church—and a Quechua word, velacuy,, that is to watch . All together it would be the “evening of the cross.”

In the past the Church not accept this celebration. There was a disgust at people dancing behind the cross with band. They thought that all this fuss was nothing but blasphemy against the church.

The feast of the cross can be sensed from far away since in the majority of traditional and non-traditional neighborhoods the bands and firework castles announce this fiesta.

The large special candles and other candles are most requested in the month of May. They are necessary for the Cruz Velacuy. At the request of all the crosses the candles are placed and each of these holds the thoughts and wishes of the devotees.

The clothes for the crosses is something that attracts the attention of anyone. Velvet fabrics with gold and silver lace shows the work that devotees do in sewing and embroidering.

The Eucharist is performed when the crosses enter the church. Afterwards, everyone goes to drink the famous spiked punch.

These months a wave of cold travels throughout the city and for those attending the first mass of the morning they are offered a punch made from broad beans with a few drops of airampo liqueur to warm the morning.

To be able to attend this celebration you must receive the invitation of the mayordomos or those in charge of holding this fiesta. It should be noted that all those who participate in this event will have their time to sponsor and support it either this year or the next as reciprocity for having attended.

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