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A Guide to the Most Popular Festivals and Feasts in Peru

Peru is a lively country rich in tradition with a myriad of cultural and religious celebrations year-round. Here’s a brief description of the most popular festivals in Peru for you to consider as you plan your trip.

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Amazing Costumes in a Religious Procession in Cusco

Festivals in Peru:

Peru has been blessed with three distinct geographic regions: the coast, the Andes Mountains and the Amazon Jungle. Each region has its own identity with its own terrain, food, culture, beliefs and traditions that make traveling to Peru so unique. What unites all these regions is the passion with which people celebrate life, and the list below is an invitation to partake in these wonderful celebrations.

 

SUMMER FESTIVALS IN PERU (January – March)

 Marinera Festival
(Trujillo – Coast)

This important festival takes place every January in the city of Trujillo in northern Peru. In it, Marinera (a typical dance of the Trujillo and the coastal region of Peru) dance partners from different parts of Peru come to Trujillo to compete in different categories and win a top spot in this prestigious contest. The Marinera Festival draws thousands of tourists from around the world who congregate to watch the country’s most beautiful Marinera dancing exhibition.

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Marinera Dancing Couple in Trujillo Festival

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Virgin of Candelaria Feast
(Puno – Mountains)

This is a very colorful and energetic two-week festival taking place in late January in which dance groups from different parts of Puno and the surrounding communities wear magnificent costumes and dance in unison both day and night in Puno’s downtown. The feast pays homage to the Virgin of Candelaria, thought to be the spiritual protector of Puno, or fertility reprentative of the Punean people. She is also thought to be a Punean version of the Virgin Mary.

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Folkloric Dancers in the Virgin of Candelaria Festival in Puno

Amazonian Carnival Group parade
(Madre de Dios – Jungle)

During the summer months, the Amazonian citizens celebrate the Carnival at riverbanks with traditional music and food, spirited dance groups and cheering crowds. The highlight is the crowning of the Carnival Queen and King Momo who represents the god of craziness and fun.

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Mythological Beings in an Amazon Carnival Group Parade

Grape Harvest Festival – The Vendimia
(Ica – Coast)

Ica, which is only 4 hours south of Lima, is home to the best grape vines and most traditional viticulturist wineries and Pisco producers in the country. Every first week of March, the Grape Harvest Festival takes which features music, food, parades as well as Marinera dance and Peruvian Paso Horse competitions. During the festival, many wineries arrange activities such as wine stomping, which are a lot of fun. There is even a beauty queen competition in which the crowned winner leads the crowds in the time-honored tradition of treading the grapes.

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Beauty Queen Leading Crowds in Grape Treading Tradition

 

 AUTUMM FESTIVALS IN PERU (April – June)

Holy Week in Ayacucho
(Ayacucho – Mountains)

This spectacular and fervent religious celebration during Easter draws thousands of people from all over Peru and the world each year.  There are multiple processions and religious manifestations taking place during the week, culminating with the astounding procession of nearly 300 men carrying a very large image of Jesus around the city. It is the Peru’s biggest, most famous, and most-attended Easter Week celebration.

 

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Nearly 300 Volunteers are Needed to Carry a Statue of Jesus in the Ayacucho Easter Procession

 

WINTER FESTIVALS IN PERU (July – September)

 Inti Raymi or Inca Sun Festivity
(Cusco – Mountains)

Inti Raymi is probably the most well known festival in Peru for its mystical significance and authentic portrayal of a very important Inca ritual. Every June 24th, people from all over the world gather around the Sacsayhuaman fortress in Cusco to witness an Inca ceremony that celebrates the arrival of the winter solstice. In it, locals dress up in the finest Inca garments and dance and chant to the Sun God so it will not disappear from the universe and they do not go hungry. It is truly a spectacular event unlike any other.

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The Inca Supreme Ruler Leads his People in Worshiping the Sun God in Inti Raymi Celebration

 

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Mistura Food Festival
(Lima – Coast)

Mistura is the largest and most famous food festival in Latin America. Every September since its inception in 2008, people have increasingly flocked to Mistura to taste some of the most delicious, traditional and exotic Peruvian dishes and desserts.  You can also taste Pisco vintages, artesanal quinoa breads, organic coffee and Amazonian chocolate.  Or simply purchase fresh and unique fruits and vegetables from the “mercado” section of the festival.   The offering is so varied, that the ten days that the festival lasts are simply not enough.

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Chefs Cooking Seafood While Others Observe at Mistura, Peru’s Gastronomic Fair

SPRING FESTIVALS IN PERU (October – December)

Trujillo Spring Festival
(Trujillo – Coast)

The Spring Festival takes place between late September and early October in the city of Trujillo also known as the “city of eternal spring”. Many tourists flock each year to see Marinera dancers and local artisans and artists take over the streets. The main attraction is the spring parade competition, where the best-decorated car wins the coveted gold lion. Beauty queens from around the country also participate in the parade.

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Beauty Queens Waving to the Crowds during the Parade at Trujillo’s Spring Festival

Festival of the Immaculate Conception
(Colca Valley,Arequipa – Mountains)

On December 8, the Colca Valley, located four hours away from the city of Arequipa, is dressed to celebrate the Immaculate Conception Festivity. It is a singular show where men wear female dresses in order to get closer to women and take them away in a colorful and unique dance exhition. Coming to the valley during this season is also a great excuse to visit its 16 baroque churches, the pleasant thermal waters from La Calera, the incredible agriculture platforms built along the world’s deepest canyon, and to appreciate the wonderful condor’s flight, over 3000 msnm, from The Cross viewpoint.

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Women Gather at Colca’s Immaculate Conception Procession

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