The Ponches and Other Preparations for After Mass

It is common in the city of Cusco to have a mass in any church, be it for reasons of health or celebrations of the death of a family member or friend. Whether or not we want it, the loss and mourning are inevitable and happen in all families.

This custom of sponsoring masses is so strong that every day there one or more is held, especially in the churches that are located in the historical center of the city. These masses are offered by Cusco families who remember their loved ones with great affection. The priest brings a lot when it comes to a mass of the dead because the words he says strengthen people and support them to help their dead rest in peace.

When the mass is ending, the relatives who sent it receive hugs of condolence. Some of those who attend, who are generally family and friends, begin to go outside the church to set up the preparations they made to thank all the participants.

They usually prepare ponches, punches in English. These can be punch of favs beans, almond punch, or milk punch. All of this is accompanied by cakes that are cut into slices or can also be biscuits or sandwiches, depending on the tastes of the family or its economy.

Ponche de Habas
Ponche de Habas

As people go out of the mass, they say “come here please, please” and so, little by little, people gather in a large group. On trays they pass the punch served in disposable cups. Other relatives pass on other trays the cake or cookies.

While the people are taking and eating, they are also telling of experiences that happened with the deceased. This sharing is done with all those who attended the mass but it also extends to those who are just going through the place. Because people know about this tradition of sharing, when they see people leasing the mass they start to say “there was a mass and they are going to serve the punch, we all go” and they come and say, “please serve me some punch”. This gives great joy to the relatives because in exchange for this they collect blessings, because in the sight of God there is no kind of pettiness.

Besides from the punch and the snacks, the families distribute a souvenir with the photo of the deceased so that they remember then and pray for them. These memories can be, key rings, hearts, small boxes and are are usually purchased in the printing companies, although in some cases the family makes these tokens manually to show their affection for those who participate in the mass.

To be able to offer a mass, you must petition in advance, at least one month, due to the demand that exists. You also take all these days to organize the preparations for the mass to be beautiful. In addition to this, the Masses are always accompanied by coral chants that give a warm atmosphere to the mass.

This beautiful traditional of sharing after Mass is very strong and we hope you never miss it. Now you know that you are welcome to have some punch after the mass and be part of this tradition.

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