Customs, Food Culture, Traditional Food

The Twelve Dishes of Holy Week

It is a custom in Cuzco to eat twelve dishes on Good Friday. Each has a different flavor and they do not contain any meat because the day demands such. There are many options, such as using quinoa, rice, corn, or other grains. Fish is one of the principal foods eaten among the various soups, main courses, and desserts.

Rice Pudding with Purple Pudding and Zambito Rice
Rice Pudding with Purple Pudding and Zambito Rice

Among the soups the most common is a lawa, corn gruel of corn like chowder. This is one of the most traditional dishes found in Cuzco. Because of the corn we can say this dish comes down to us from ancestral times. It has obtained an importance for the people of Cuzco because of its symbolic significance, its nutritional value, and because it contains one of the basic products of our diet.

We also have other soups, such as the almuerzo of lisas, shrimp chupe, clam and rice soup. These are all delicious and are eaten on this day in Holy Week.

Baked Trout and Potatoes Frozen with Cheesse (Photo: Walter Coraza Morveli)
Baked Trout and Potatoes Frozen with Cheesse (Photo: Walter Coraza Morveli)

For the main courses the most common is fish with rice. This is significant since in the times of Jesus, he and his disciples were fishermen so this is a dish that must not be lacking on the table.

Of course there are other main courses eaten today, such as tortillas or torrejas made from eggs and vegetables such as squash, cauliflower, etc. The spicy squash (ají de calabaza) is also served.

Stewed Peach
Stewed Peach

Then you will also see the desserts of Holy Week. These include the mazamorra morada (purple pudding). Rice pudding is another dish loved by young and old alike. There is also the special sweet empanada with colored candy on to and the sighs, or meringues that make people sigh from all the food served on this day.

As a result, on this day filled with names and these flavorful, different dishes, the most important thing is to share with your family as Jesus did with his disciples. In this way we can reflect on the day and become aware of our errors. This should be a day of reconciliation between our loved ones and us.

The Favorite Sweet Empanada
The Favorite Sweet Empanada
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