Customs

Holy Week in Cuzco

Plateros Street Filled with nice Decoration Waiting the Lord Earthquake Blessing (Photo: Walter Coraza Morveli)

Holy week has arrived in the city of Cuzco. It is a celebration we do each year on a floating Schedule following the lunar calendar. The celebration begins with Palm Sunday and finishes with the Sunday of Resurrection, one week later.

During that week, every day is considered holy. During these days people in the city are expected to not eat dishes with meat. Families go shopping, beginning on Holy Monday, to buy foods that they need to prepare their popular twelve dishes of Holy Week, and on Holy Friday they serve them, although the be fair some people serve them on Thursday.

A Palm Cross for Holy Week
A Palm Cross for Holy Week

One tradition of our city, on Holy Thursday some people go out to steal food from nearby fields. They say that is because the Lord Jesus is dead and so they have the opportunity to steal from other people’s fields the foods they need to prepare their twelve dishes.

On Holy Friday in the morning, people go to Saqsayhuaman to have themselves whipped. There is a priest up there who is the indicated one to work the whip. Each person receives three blows: the first in the name of the Father, the second in the name of the son, and the third in the name of the Holy Ghost. People receive these strikes of the whip to wipe away their sins.

After the scourging, people enter into a fast. They cannot eat any food until lunchtime. During those hours of fasting people are said to be helping the Lord.

 

One of the Twelve Dishes of Holy Week in Cuzco, Olluco with Fish Eggs (Photo: Walter Coraza Morveli)
One of the Twelve Dishes of Holy Week in Cuzco, Olluco with Fish Eggs (Photo: Walter Coraza Morveli)

Once midday comes their food is ready and can be served on the table. All the family comes together and watches movies of Christ while enjoying the twelve dishes of Holy Week. Among the dishes are six desserts.

On Saturday of Glory families watch together the series of films shown on television. Some people shed tears on seeing them. The week ends with Resurrection Sunday, Paschal Sunday, also called Easter.

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