On a bright, sunny Sunday, the San Sebastian district of Cuzco celebrated the feast of its patron saint, St. Sebastian. There was delicious food, lots of tradition, colorful dances and lively culture. Its patronal feast is considered the cultural patrimony of the nation.
Yesterday, the 20th of January, just like every year, the people of San Sebastian celebrated the great birthday of the holy patron with more than twenty different and colorful dances. They were the major attraction for visitors and, of course, the sayas were those that made even the ground tremble in emotion as they pounded it with their feet. In this way the celebration was lived.
Santiago, just off the Avenida de la Cultura, which is the main road through metropolitan Cuzco, is an ancient town. But its claim to glory was the settlement in it of four of the most noble lineages of the incas when the Spanish drove them from the city of Cuzco itself, following the conquest. This tradition continues in this town, made suburb, and inundates its festivities.
Of course, as a result, there is irony; its patron saint is known for his brutal martyrdom at the hands of the Romans. His statue was donated to the town by the great Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V. The image was accepted because of its role in healing an epidemic of smallpox.
The celebration was centered as every year on San Sebastian’s main square, its Plaza de Armas, and in its traditional streets nearby. Multitudes of people waited for the Holy Patron to come out of the Church and begin his passage through the town accompanied by dances and the bands. Once the Holy Patron exited the Church, his clothes were changed by his faithful. The he, his bearers and his bands went through town, recognizing and claiming it, along with a large number of faithful.
As always, Cuzco’s gastronomy was one of the luxuries of the patronal feast. There is nothing better than to enjoy a delicious chiriuchu or a chicharrón, the favorite dishes to eat in these festivities. These dishes and others were sold along the traditional streets. Many families offered food from their doorways. While walking down the streets you could see the delicious and attractive colors and sense the smells of these dishes that call attention and captivate palates.
Even though it was a very hot day, lots of people came to the celebration. The heat did not impede people from enjoying the feast. Despite the sun, they brought umbrellas and used them to protect themselves from the intense sun. Under them they reserved a place on the path of the typical dances which were performed in memory of the Holy Patron. Saint Sebastian.
A every year, the feast was exciting and amazing. Nevertheless, each year it is different. There was a diversity of dances, good food, and full pleasure. This is the living culture of San Sebastian. Year after year it brings to life a maximal celebration for its saint, with its traditions and customs.