VIRGIN OF THE CARMEN

Four hours from Cuzco, in the town of Paucartambo, thousands of devotees hold festivals in honor of the Virgen del Carmen, known locally as Mamacha Carmen, patron saint of the mestizo population. The gathering, that raises the curtain on these days of celebrations is held in the main square, where troupes of musicians play their instruments while richly dressed choirs sing in Quechua. The setting gives way to a series of ingenious choreographies that portray events in Peruvian history.

For five days, dance companies in various costumes (Doctorcitos, Waca Waca, Sarjas) take to the streets to accompany the Mamacha throughout the entire procession through the main square, the church and the city streets. On the main day, the virgin is borne aloft in a procession to bless those present and scare away demons. The dancers take to the housetops, performing daring gymnastics, showing off their colorful Inca and colonial garb. At the end of the procession, war is waged on the demons, from which the faithful emerge in triumph. Finally, the gathering ends up in the cemetery to render homage to the souls of the dead.

Virgin of the Carmen  Paucartambo

Paucartambo: Dancing in the street  Paucartambo: Saqra

CUSCO FESTIVALS

FESTIVALS DESCRIPTION PLACE DATES
The Visit of the Wise Men Folkloric and religious festival Ollantaytambo January 6
Carnivals Party for happiness Cusco February and/or March
Lord. of Tremors The brown Christ and the crimson flower Cusco The second part of March and the first week of April
Cruz Velacuy Party of the crosses and Andean spirit Cusco May and/or June
Qoyllur Rit'i The biggest indigenous pilgrimage in America Quispicanchis The first week of May
Festival of OllantayRaymi Staging of Ollantay drama, dances and typical dishes Ollantaytambo The first part of June
Inti Raymi The Inca festival of the Sun Cusco June 24
Corpus Christi The steps of the saints and the virgins Cusco June
Virgin of the Carmen Mamacha Carmen Paucartambo The second week (15-16) of July
Corpus of Santiago A religious festivity Cusco July 25
Corpus of Santa Ana A religious festivity performed in the chapel of San Cristobal Cusco July 26
Corpus of San Cristobal A religious festivity performed in the chapel of Santa Ana Cusco August 2
Warachikuy Dramatisation of Warachikuy in Sacsayhuaman Cusco August and/or September
Corpus of Almudena A religious festivity celebrated in the church of Almudena Cusco September 8
Lord of Huanca Pilgrimages and agriculture fairs San Salvador September 14
Corpus of San Jeronimo A religious festivity celebrated in the district of San Jeronimo Cusco September 30
Virgin of the Rosary Taurine fairs and preparation of Pachamancas Quispicanchis and Canchis October 10
All the Saints' Day Visits to cemeteries, Preparationj of the suckling pig Cusco November 1 - 2
Christmas in Cusco Time of integration and artistic splendour Cusco December 24-25
Santuranticuy Fair The sale of saints Cusco December 24