Customs

The Cruz Velakuy Claims Cuzco Today

The day of the cross in cuzco.

The feast of the Veneration of the Cross, or Cruz Velakuy, is carried out every year in the city of Cuzco to pay homage to all the crosses in the city.  In this way, all of the Crosses are attended with candles, dances, and music, under the charge of the carguyoq, also called a mayordomo.  These are persons with the charge of ensuring the feast be carried out properly.

This feast begins in the days before the 3rd of May.  People prepare for the feast by putting togetehr the altars for the crosses, organizing groups of dancers, the music, and of course putting together food for all the guests.  Food must never be lacking.  The work is hard and it is very costly for a single person or a family.  For that reason the mayordomo selects other people to help with the expenses and all the other requirements of the feast.

The 2nd of May is called the Día de la Bajada, that is the Day of Coming Down.  It is when the crosses that are movable are brought down from their hill tops or sanctuaries, wherever they are found, to the home of the mayordomo.  They will be celebrated for the whole night long.  Everyone is called to attend, their family, frineds, and all.

On the 3rd of May, the main day of the feast, all of the ccrosses have their clothing changed.  New dress is generously given them by the mayordomos and other persons.  Then, after being taken to the nearest church in the midst of a complete procession, they undergo a mass.

There are two types of cross, the movable and the immovable.  Only the movble ones can come down and make the processions, of course, the others are still adorned and celebrated in the palces where they are found.

After the mass, the crosses return to the houses of the mayordomos where a meal is served, after whicht he feast continues with lots of joy and noise.  The next day the celebrants carry out a kacharpari, a feast of departure.

Thecelebration begins very early, like the first feast fo the morning, since by afternoon all ofthe crosses will ahve been returned to the places where they spend the year, with the company of bands of musicians, dancers, and the multitude of people who accompany the feast.

With all of this the feast of Cruz Velakuy ends.  People go home to continue with their ordinary life and to await the next year for the crosses to return to homes near where people live.

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