Tonight, trumpets, drums, and cymbals will awaken the city to a Cusco rhythm because in many streets of the city’s neighbourhoods, with great noise and devotion, the city`s Catholics will celebrate the eve of the Feast of the Cross. This feast in Cusco is named after this night and is called Cruz Velakuy. It is a night of burning candles and awaiting while feasting throughout Cusco. In many districts the cargo holders will feast people and will celebrate to give the beginning to this traditional Catholic celebration.
Catholics will process with their crosses accompanied by bands and traditional dances through the city’s different streets and plazas. At the front march the cargo holders, the carguyoc, with their standards on high and wearing elegant suits and hats. Their wives also are well put together and made up. They carry before them large cireones, candles, and small crosses in their hands as they open the way for dancers. Tonight there will be many well-known dances, such as sayas, morenadas, and others that are more particularly cusqueño. People will dance to the sounds of the caperos, or musicians in bands.
Wherever the crosses stop or stay, there will be veladas, celebrations. With coats, shawls, and ponchos people will protect themselves from the cold and will drink a warm fava bean ponche with a bit of hard liquor while others light the candles at the foot of the cross while praying and petitioning. At some crosses that are not moveable, for example in San Blas, a group of musicians that are very cusqueñan, called Illa, pay homage to the cross with mestizo, Cusco music to the rhythm of violins. They fill you with sadness and yet are so elegant.
Cruz Velakuy is a very traditional celebration carried out in Cusco every year on this date. Tomorrow, the 3rd is the central day of the feast. There will be celebration everywhere. Abundant food, chiriuchu, beer, chicha, dances, bands, and much more. If you are in Cusco you should not miss this celebration. Everyone is invited to the different crosses where people celebrate. You just have to come close and the people will draw you in.