Customs, Traditional Food

Six Desserts and Companions Needed for Holy Week

Special Desserts on Holy Week (Photo: Walter Coraza Morveli)

Holy Week is in full bloom now in the city of Cuzco. It began with Palm Sunday. Holy Monday was lived in the procession where the bulk of the people of Cuzco appeared in the Plaza to greet the Lord of Temblors.

When the procession was beginning rain began to fall. People thought it would pass and they continued to follow the Lord. Then, the heavens opened and a torrential rain fell on the city. All those who were accompanying the Lord got wet and yet still the continued in order to receive his blessing.

Now, only a day before Good Friday, Cuzco’s population is getting ready to prepare the fabulous twelve plates of Easter. On Friday they will fast until midday and then eat in remembrance of our Lord. The twelve plates include six desserts. They are served along with the delicious maicillos and empanadas that are special for Cuzco’s Holy Week celebration. These sweets are widely consumed by the people of the city. The pleasing combination of a rich dessert accompanied by some maicillos (corn flour cookies) and empanadas (a special Holy Week pastry) is just one more of the privileges we have. You will enjoy them, if you are here, this Good Friday.

The most recognized and popular desserts that are prepared for enjoyment this Holy Week are rice pudding (arroz con leche), the mazamorra morada (purple pudding), and stewed peaches (guiso de durazno). Each of the desserts sweetens this day with their different flavors since the day is bitter; it is the day the Lord Jesus was crucified.

Empanadas are the Most Popular Dessert on Holy Week (Photo: Walter Coraza Morveli)
Empanadas are the Most Popular Dessert on Holy Week (Photo: Walter Coraza Morveli)

Not all of Cuzco’s homes prepare the complete desserts. But one of them will always accompany you with its flavor this day.

On the principal day, from early in the morning, people circulate through the city’s streets. Many people are there selling the products needed for the celebration these days. Chancaca (a raw cane sugar) is one of the sweets that people enjoy. It is used to prepare the stewed peaches and is also eaten plain.

By enjoying the twelve dishes, including the six sweets, we celebrate the passion of Jesus. People will eat these dishes while watching movies about the life of Christ on television, along with other classic films of ancient times.

Arroz con Leche and Stewed Peach (Photo: Walter coraza Morveli)
Arroz con Leche and Stewed Peach (Photo: Walter coraza Morveli)
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