Important dates in Peru
End of January (lthe last week)
Marinera contest – Trujillo
La Marinera Norteña
Declared Cultural Heritage of the Nation in 1986, it is a graceful and romantic couple's dance, elegant and stylized reenactment of a courtship, a blend of Spanish, Amerindian and African cultures. The Marinera is typical of the region of Trujillo (600 km / 370 mi north of Lima) and the international competition is held for six days.
Late January / early February
Virgen de la Candelaria - Puno
The Virgen de la Candelaria (Virgen of Candlemas) festival takes place in the city of Puno. For two weeks, some 150 dance sets, 40,000 dancers and 9,000 musicians offer a wonderful show with dazzling colorful costumes and extravagant masks in honor of the patron saint of the city.
Late February / early March
Carnival - Cajamarca
It is the most important and picturesque carnival in the country. Cajamarca officially received the title of capital of the Peruvian carnival. For several days, parades alternate with dances, colorful costumes compete in beauty and eccentricity comparable to Rio de Janeiro and grotesque masks are characteristic of this carnival. It takes place during lent.
March - 2nd and 3rd week
Festival de la vendimia - Ica
Ica is the main viticultural region of Peru where wines are produced and especially the famous Pisco (grape brandy). The Vintage Festival takes place for ten days with sports, gastronomic, folkloric and cultural events, in the city of Ica and in the haciendas which serve the typical pachamanca (meat and vegetables cooked in an underground oven), organize cockfights, Peruvian horse shows, etc. The festival culminates with the vintage parade and the election of Miss Vintage. Later the Queen and her court, crush grapes by foot.
Caballo de Paso contest - Mamacona, Lurín - Lima
The Hacienda Mamacona located 30 km (19 mi) south of Lima, organizes the greater annual competition of Peruvian Paso horse.
April / May
Holy week - Ayacucho
The celebration of "Semana Santa" in Ayacucho is considered the second most important in the world after Seville in Spain. The festivities begin on Viernes de Dolores (Good Friday) before Domingo de Ramos (Palm Sunday). For 10 days, every night leave brightly lit processions from different churches in the city. The days most funny are the last Saturday and Sunday. On saturday afternoon, the morochucos (Andean cowboys) take to the streets, with two bulls in the middle of the crowd. All night long take place a party with dances, bonfires, fireworks, until 5am. At this moment, a huge pyramid lit with hundreds of candles with the representation of Christ and carried by 300 men leaves the cathedral. In the afternoon a horse race takes place.
May - ascension
Qoyllur Rit’i – Ausangate glacier, Ocongate – Cusco
The Señor del Qoyllorit'i (Lord of the Star Snow) pilgrimage has been declared as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2011. The main festivities take place during nine days followed by 100,000 people. It is a mix between Catholic traditions and Andean customs related to soil fertility and the Apus (mountain gods). Bit touristy and very rustic, must face the altitude (up to almost 5,000 m / 16,000 ft a.s.l.) and the intense cold
Pilgrims must join one of the eight groups called "nations", each group has its own costumes. The pilgrimage begins in the chapel of Mahuayani with Inca songs, then they should travel 8 km (5 mi) walk to the Sinakara shrine, each "nation" dancing along the way. In the square, take place the typical market of Alasitas where we can get miniature representations of our desires (house, car, money, etc.).
At night, some pilgrims made the ascent to Tayankani to attend sunrise indicating the start of the year in the Andean world. Several of them down carrying ice blocks on his back that leave symbolically melt on their land.
June - movable dates
San Juan feast – Amazon rainforest
All over the Amazon jungle, the inhabitants are purified in lakes and rivers as a symbol of the renewal of faith, to have happiness and healthy all year long. Each region organizes typical music and dances festivals, craft and food fairs with the typical dish the juane (rice, meat and vegetables cooked in a giant leaf).
june 23/24 + july and august
Chaku - Lucanas - Ayacucho
Each year the shearing of vicuñas takes place in different reserves in southern Peru, on variable dates. In Lucanas in Pampa Galeras (130 km / 80 mi Nasca towards Cusco), the vicuña festival is held for two days. The first day is for the festivities with folk dances, a ceremony of offerings to the Apus (mountain gods) and payment to the earth. The next day is the chaku or chaccu, a tradition that goes back to the Incas. Villagers of the communities form a human chain to encircle and herd the animals into corrals to capture and shear them, with a ceremony in honor of the Inca and celebrate the "marriage" of vicuñas.
Inti Raymi - Cuzco
The origin of this celebration dates back to the Inca Pachacutec. It was the most important ceremony of the empire to celebrate the god Inti (Sun) during the winter solstice and was carried out for 9 days. Prohibited by the Spaniards during the colonial period, it was reestablished in 1944.
Today, the show is fantastic and tries to recreate the original ceremony, with 500 actors, dancers and musicians. The procession starts at the Plaza de Armas (main square) of Cuzco, through the Qoricancha and ends in Sacsaywaman where the big show takes place.
July 28 / 29
Fiestas patrias – En todo el Perú
The Peruvian National Holidays are celebrations of Peru´s independence from the Spanish Empire on July 28, 1821. The great military parade takes place on the morning of 29th in Brazil Avenue in Lima. Nationwide, culinary and craft fairs are held. Some cities and villages organize bullfights, cockfights, etc. During these two days, the Peruvian families travel a lot within the country and often go for walks in the parks, restaurants and entertainment centers. Every home should put a Peruvian flag visible.
August 15 and 10 days before
Anniversary of the White City – Arequipa
From August 5, develop in Arequipa different folkloric parades, cultural, musical, culinary and handicraft events with the sillar contest (volcanic ash stone used in the construction in Arequipa) in which numerous sculptors compete. On August 14 you can see the traditional entry of ccapo (a type of bush) loaded by donkeys accompagnied by dance groups and floats to the Plaza de Armas (main square). On Sunday, more than 4,000 people march in the international parade of friendship, featuring 50 traditional dances.
Santa Rosa de Lima – Lima
The patron saint of Lima, Peru, the New World, the Philippines, the Peruvian police, the armed forces of Argentina and Paraguay, is highly revered worldwide. On August 30, thousands of pilgrims gather in his sanctuary located Tacna Avenue to honor the saint and especially to leave their votes in a well.
The tail extends over twenty blocks and you can wait several hours before reaching the wells.
Mistura – Lima
This fair has become the largest gastronomic festival in Latin America. For 10 days, all actors of Peruvian cuisine are present in Lima, from farmers to chefs, bakers, cooks, waiters, school canteens, etc.
You can taste the Peruvian specialties, attending conferences of national and international chefs, attend musical performances and cooking contests. An unforgettable day to explore the delicious gastronomy of Peru, awarded by World Travel Awards as the "best international culinary destination" in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
Señor de los Milagros - Lima
It is the most important Catholic procession in the world, held not only in Lima, but also in most of the Peruvian cities and in 70 cities in the world.
The Lord of Miracles is also known as the Cristo de Pachacamilla, Cristo Morado (Purple Christ), Cristo de las Maravillas (Christ of Wonderland), Cristo Negro (Black Christ) or Señor de los Tembores (Lord of the Earthquakes). He is credited with many miracles and during the month of October several processions take place in downtown Lima.
It is the ideal moment to ask for miracles and to the gratitude of those who have met and for whiche the women dress in purple and men using a accessory of the same color for the entire month. During this period, traditionally we usually eat the turrón de Doña Pepa, a dry cake soaked with molasses.
December 24 & 25
Christmas - in all Peru
On 24 at midnight, people usually celebrate with thousands of fireworks.