Posted by: eeb | June 9, 2010

Corpus Christi Festivities

The internet at our hostel went out this weekend, which was good for productivity but bad for communication. I studied, studied, studied all weekend, and then took my final on Sunday afternoon. But before we all went into study-mode, we celebrated Corpus Christi on Thursday. On this holiday, statues of saints from the region come to parade around Cusco’s main square, Plaza de Armas. I think this holiday has been celebrated for centuries in Peru, but Cusco currently has the largest celebration.

Corpus Christi festivities--saints, nuns, soldiers

So, from what I can gather, 15 statues of saints from the Cusco region come to Cusco’s oldest and largest cathedral the night before the celebration. They spend the night in Le Catedral and then the morning of Corpus Christi, they prepare to be paraded through the plaza.

one of the saints to be paraded around the square

It’s such a colorful ceremony! It began with mass being held out in the square, and then they started the parade. And we had a great view! A group of about 10 of us went to a cafe that looks out over the church and the plaza. We got there right as it opened, so we got seats on the balcony. We ordered food and took pictures all morning!

silver dome float leading the parade

All throughout mass more and more people began to crowd into the plaza and lined the streets. The parade began with some kind of silver dome being led around the square. Official-looking men carried burning ashes and sprinkled flower petals before the float passed through the street. After the dome made a full spin around the square, the saints followed. Supposedly, after the parade, the saints return to the cathedral and spend one more night there while community leaders feast and discuss local events. After that, the saints return to their home churches until next year’s celebrations!

Plaza de Armas, full of Corpus Christi celebrators

It was really amazing to be able to see a famous cultural event. I loved seeing all of the people. There were tons of local Peruvians, young and old, but also lots of tourists from all over the world. Of course, none of us think of ourselves as tourists anymore 🙂

And here’s a quick update on what I’ve been up to since then. Now that we’ve finished our U.S. Health Care course, we have started our Global Health, Infectious Disease, and Human Rights course. I’m loving it so far! And this weekend, we are headed to the Amazon Jungle! I am going to take tons of pictures, and will have a post for you when I get back!



  1. O.K. Now I am officially and seriously truly envious of you and this amazing time you’re having in Peru. But, I’m just as officially and seriously truly delighted for you. Fabulous photos and descriptions. Your courses sound very interesting, too!

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